Joseba Tapia,
(Gaztelupeko Hotzak, 1999)

This is an endearing collection of 14 strong tunes composed by five Quebec artists, known as chansonniers, performed in Basque translation by well-known triki (Basque accordion) player Joseba Tapia and his band.

Tapia brings us the work of Quebec songwriters Felix Leclerc, Gilles Vigneault, Robert Charlebois, Claude Leveillee, Raymond Levesque and Paul Piche. Vigneault's much-loved classic "Mon Pays" translates as "Herri Hau" while Levesque's anthemic "Quand les Hommes Vivront d'Amour" becomes "Maitasuna Helduko Da."

These are important songs in Quebec. During the period these songs were written, Quebec's Quiet Revolution was underway. They span the three main generations of the political and artistic awakening of Quebec (beginning with Leclerc's in the 1950s and ending with Piche, who was most influential around '80).

Most are either overt or allegorical calls for self-determination -- stories that concern struggles for justice and respect. The songs, written between 1956 and 1983, work remarkably well in a Basque setting, particularly Levesque's "Bozo les Culottes" and Leclerc's "L'Alouette en Colere."

The gifted Pascal Gaigne (guitar), Arkaitz Miner, (violin) and Ritxi Salaberria (bass) join Tapia, who sings and plays triki. Tapia is one of the most interesting accordionists I have ever heard, but this is not primarily an accordion record. The arrangements are light jazz-influenced folk that remain relatively true to the originals (those I am familiar with, at least). Lyrics are provided in the original French, the Basque of the recording and a Spanish translation.

- Rambles
written by David Cox
published 13 November 2004