Haur Jolasen Abestiak,
Haur Jolasen Abestiak
(Xangorin/Hik Hasi, 1997)

Haur Jolasen Abestiak's self-titled CD, the first of this group's three Basque albums for children, has some catchy tunes in a variety of different styles and is consistently upbeat.

With beats ranging from reggae to samba to traditional Basque zortziko, this CD presents an enjoyable package of two dozen original songs in Euskara (Basque) by Xabier Zabala.

For those of Basque heritage as well as those who just enjoy the culture, it's a great way to expose children to the language. It's also fine for those simply looking for good music children can enjoy. Most of the songs seem to be counting games and the like. The children's voices are tuneful and exuberant throughout.

"Euskaraz Jolasten," the most learnable song, begins the CD with an infectious bit of Basque trikitixa, or diatonic accordion, playing by Edurne Iturbe.

The true test of this record is that my daughter, nearly 4, asks for it to be played frequently. Through doing so, she has actually learned to count to 13 in Basque; pretty good for someone with no attention span and living in Toronto. Bronwen looks forward to hearing the group's other two CDs.

Lyrics written by Josi Oiarbide (but unfortunately not translated) are provided.

At 32 minutes, this CD is a good length for little attention spans. It's available from www.megadenda.com in Donostia/San Sebastian.

- Rambles
written by David Cox
published 7 February 2004