By Ander Egiluz Beramendi
Berri Txarrak is a rara avis in today’s music world. They play hard (not very radio friendly), they sing in Basque (Do people listen to bands that sing in languages other than English or their own?). They have undergone three determining lineup changes (perseverance, perseverance) and, still, the band and its influence keep growing way beyond Basque lands.
In 2014, BTX celebrated its 20th anniversary with a three-CD album that was praised by both critics and public, appropriately titled Denbora da poligrafo bakarra (Time is the only polygraph). It is their eighth (and so far last) studio record and each disc has a very specific sound: the first one is comprised of seven metal songs, the second one includes seven pop songs, and the last one is a six-track straight-punk tour de force. Three different atmospheres that represent their intricate musical influences. Basque Public Radio and Television’s music critic Fermin Etxegoien said “(this album) is meant to become a classic of Basque modern music,” and events are proving him right.
Before drummer Galder Izagirre joined the band in 2010, substituting original member Aitor Goikoetxea, BTX published Payola (2009) – a stripped-down punk-rock album recorded by Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey) in Chicago, USA. The third track of that record, Maravillas, sums up the power-trio’s career like no other: a combination of heavy and fast riffs, blunt-force rhythm, and now melodious, now rasping vocals. The song tells the story of Maravillas Lamberto, a teenage girl from the province of Navarre who was murdered during the Spanish Civil War. It’s a call to remember the forgotten, a poetic statement of injustice in the most Berri Txarrak way: “Someone will remember in the future / those who were drowned in this swamp of oblivion / in a new song / in the barks of old trees / in the stars of Erribera / in Navarre…”
Ever since it was published, the song has been a favorite of fans.
Berri Txarrak was formed in 1994 in Lekunberri, Navarre, by Gorka Urbizu (vocals, guitars), Aitor Goikoetxea (drums), Mikel Rubio López (bass), and Aitor Oreja (guitars). After the latter left the band in 2004, Urbizu, Goikoetxea, and López decided to continue as a trio. Four years later, Mikel López left the group and David González filled in. To date, Gorka Urbizu, David González, and Galder Izagire have recorded two albums and continue working together.
You can find the Berri Txarrak webpage in English here.