Tunes from Basque

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PROFESSIONAL The group gave an impressive rendition of contemporary 20th Century choir music
PROFESSIONAL The group gave an impressive rendition of contemporary 20th Century choir music

The incredible range of the human voice was on display at the performance of the Basque choir Hodeiertz

It was a chance to listen to something different when the professional choir from Spain, Hodeiertz, performed in the city courtesy of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Coming from the Tolosa, in the heart of Basque country in the northeast of Spain, they gave an impressive rendition of contemporary 20th Century choir.The performance began with the 27 members and the conductor entering the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, singing, from the main entrance instead of backstage. Dressed in Basque rural attire, their dramatic and unexpected entry made the audience sit up and take notice of their presence. Their programme was divided into four parts — international repertory, Basque folklore, various and Indian music. All the songs were rendered in what they described as "contemporary" style. The concert began with two madrigal compositions, "Amor, I'ali m'impenna" by W. Hawley and "All'aurora" by B. Lewkovitch. It was followed by music by H. Purceli and Mundi Renovatio by G. Orban. The highlight of above was the Mundi Renovatio, which was full of energy and demanded a lot from the singers and the conductor, Xavier Sarasola.The programme claimed that since 1983, when Hodeiertz was formed, they have been known for quality, and they lived up to that billing. Though the traditional layout used by choirs is the string layout (highest to lowest voices from left to right), they used a mixed layout. It is said that only experienced choirs use this layout, as it requires more independence from each singer. The magic of hearing so many different voices in sync was a pleasure, which was interrupted by mobile phones children trying to bawl along. The second part of the concert consisted of compositions in the Basque language, which is called Euskara and is said to predate all European languages. Two of the compositions in this part — "Zure Boza" and "Neskatx'ederra" — were by the conductor Xavier Sarasola himself. The other composition "Oihu Hau" was by D. Azurza and it was a special one. It was written to describe the scene during the apple-picking season and during the song a few members of the choir thumped wooden sticks on the stage to signify crushing of apples to make cider. The penultimate part consisted of the Argentinian composition by C. Guastavino called Una Pena Nuevamente, and the Phil Collins number "One More Night". The Phil Collins number caught everyone by surprise. The choir said they added it because they simply liked singing it. If this part was meant to show that the choir was changing with the times, then the last part went one better. They chose a Konkani lullaby written by Victor Paranjoti, a composer from Mumbai. But this effort somehow didn't compare with the earlier numbers, as it was hard to understand the Konkani rendered by Spaniards. ANAND SANKAR



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