Saturday, August 22, 2009

Txalaparta in Quintana

On Thursday night I went to a truly remarkable concert, part of the season of music and events which are going on every day in Santiago at the moment. This concert was in the Plaza de Quintana, the main square at the back of the cathedral and in my opinion a much more pleasant space than the main square at the front.

The Txalaparta is a Basque instrument, played by two people who act as one. The instrument comes in a variety of forms, but in essence it's a large xylophone, played with wooden sticks and where the players play alternating notes (or alternating pairs, etc.). The players on this occasion were two of the most famous, Igor and Harkaitz, this time accompanied by Aziza Brahim a woman with a voice like the desert.

Txalaparta with Igor and Harkaitz and Aziza Brahim

They came with two txalapartas, one wooden and one of stone, though accompanying the players were videos of their recent tour where they have been going around the world constructing txalapartas of all manner of materials, including ice. The trailor for this video can be seen here and is well worth a watch:
The speed at which the musicians play and the perfect synchronisation are truly remarkable and with the accompanying voice  of Aziza Brahim and the setting with the cathedral to the right and the rising walls of the nunnery to the left it was a powerful evening. (bad quality due to high ISO, sorry).
Txalaparta with Igor and Harkaitz and Aziza Brahim

These guys seem to be touring most of the time and I'd highly recomment trying to see them if they're in town.

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