Saturday. A Highlight of 2016 – great to have them back!
Korrontzi folk band (Mungia, Basque Country, 2004) were formed by trikitixa player Agus Barandiaran. His purpose was to give Basque Country folk music and Basque ancestral and traditional sounds a contemporary aspect but always within the scope of a music based on the trikitixa (Basque diatonic accordion). Eleven years later, Korrontzi’s musical offer and contribution still remain the same. At first, Agus Barandiaran was influenced by Guipuzcoan trikitixa’s traditional line he fancied but soon, he learnt how to play perfectly old Biscayan trikitixa players’ tunes and popular songs, the same musical cultural background his family was descending from . Korrontzi are a folk band based mainly on Basque traditional music which is accompanied by modern technic, with the help and the union of those more modern instruments such mandolin, bass guitar and percussions).
Korrontzi take their name from an old trikitixa player who used to go down from his farm on donkey back every Sunday to Mungia main square and cheer up the villagers who gathered there to listen to his songs. There was no need of passing the beret since his hat was filled up by all the coins the happy listeners who enjoyed the music dropped into it.
Korrontzi’s first album is “Korrontzi”, (Nubenegra, Madrid, 2006). During the previous two years, Mikel Romero (mandolin and guitar) was Agus Barandiaran’s right-hand man to give form to the eponymous album’s themes. World music influence is widely present among the traditional references in melodies and chords. In 2006, they took part in Eurofolk festival which takes place in Malaga where they received the best national band award. In 2006, in Navelgas (Asturias) a festival for the newcomer bands, they were awarded the first prize. In August 2008, Malaga Eurofolk festival invited Korrontzi and they received the best international folk band award.
Korrontzi’s second album is “Getxo” (DVD + CD, Baga-Biga, 2008). It’s a two-disc CD/DVD which is the recording of the concert given during Getxo Folk Festival in 2008. The DVD includes 23 songs and the CD, 16 tracks. “Getxo” recording was done in collaboration with the following musicians: Mikel Urdangarin (voice), Faltriqueira (voice and hand drums), Jorge Arribas “La Musgaña” (diatonic accordion), Maya Anaiak – Kukai Dantza Konpainia (dance), Susana Seivane (bagpipe), Xavi Sarriá “Obrint Pas” (voice). Korrontzi, deploying folk rhythms and their taste for popular culture, merged joyful, danceable, playful and suggestive music with moving songs full of passionate moments. Those sounds replete with instrumental emotions (trikitixa, guitar, mandolin, alboka, bass guitar and drums) captivated the audience who gathered in Getxo Folk Festival. The DVD is an accurate reflection of what happened there.
Korrontzi’s third album is entitled “Infernuko hauspoa” (Baga-Biga, 2010)
Korrontzi and Oinkari Dantza Taldea worked together in “Infernuko hauspoa” (The bellows from Hell) musical-visual performance. Korrontzi put the music and Oinkari Dantza Taldea, the dances.
Oinkari Dantza taldea from Villabona had previously worked with Korrontzi during their concerts. Their director Eneko Arteaga and Edu Muruamendiaraz (director-choreographer of Aukeran Dantza Konpainia) put the finishing poetic touch to the music and the clouds vanished in the blue sky. On the premise that there is no music people can’t dance to, Oinkari dance to the folk sounds that Korrontzi proposed. Plasticity of dance helps music in an extraordinary way. Forty dancers in perfect unison with Korrontzi’s folk music. Oinkari merged contemporary dances with Basque traditional ones. Words like confluence, fusion, alliance and melting pot could define what “Infernuko hauspoa” is. Korrontzi gave a countless number of concerts during that 2011 tour (Spain, tours in Morocco, in Italy and Croatia, in Cabo-Verde and Brazil, France). In 2012, the number of concerts kept growing (Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Romania, Germany and Greece).
Korrontzi’s fourth album is “Tradition 2.1” (Baga-Biga, 2013). Cosmopolitan vision, Basque traditional music from the perspective of trikitixa, mixed with music from so different cultures and countries. The trikitixa is the heart, root and central trunk, and vivid leaves draw their strength from its huge branches. The sounds of trikitixa are in this way strengthened, increased, embellished, and protected. The final result is fascinating: sixteen different and varied songs sharing the same joyful energy. Flamenco merging with fandango, Portuguese fado with the clamour of porrusalda, arin-arin with Italian music, biribilketa with Galician sounds, Sicily joining festive kalejira, Sardinia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Scotland, Asturias, Catalonia, France… Tradition 2.1 is a crossroads for a multitude of cultures. Korrontzi adorn musical tradition with new contemporary radiant tunes. Korrontzi take us into tradition with the fibre and vitality of contemporary music. Travelling musical routes whisper to us in the innovative mentality Agus Barandiaran hatched. A sublime itinerary for a dazzling travel. The post-production was made by Javier Limón in his studio Casa Limón and Cesar Ibarretxe was the sound engineer. 26 recording studios spread all over the world worked together. The guest musicians were: Michael McGoldrick, Luís Peixoto, Fernando Barroso, Justin Vali, Diego Galaz, Ibon Koteron, Susana Seivane, Phil Cunningham, Javier Limón, Riccardo Tesi, Eliseo Parra, Garikoitz Mendizabal, Naseem Alatrash, Eoghan Neff, Mikel markez, Mikel Urdangarin, José Manuel Tejedor, Xabier Berasaluze “Leturia”, Liron Man, Fredi Peláez, José Vargas, Coetus, Custódio Castelo, Ali Amr, Alex Sardui, Antonio Carmona, Juan Camborio, Tareq Ratinsi, Juan Heredia & Abdul Sharif, Mario Incudine, Antonio Vasta, Antonio Putzu, Francesca Incudine, Roberta Gulisano, Lorenza Denaro, Marta Tudisco, Michela Gioveni & Serena Pitta, Jimila. “Tradition 2.1” ranked directly in European World Music Charts in February 2014. Within the “Tradition 2.1” tour, Korrrontzi gave countless concerts all over the world and performed in the most important folk festivals. ARC, the English record company released “Tradition 2.1” for the international market. In October 2014, Korrontzi were programmed within the official selection of international music fair Womex which took place in Santiago de Compostela.
Korrontzi’s fifth album “Symphonic Bilbon” (Baga-Biga, 2014) was released on the occasion of the band’s tenth anniversary. They were given the opportunity to perform during the Aste Nagusia festival in Bilbao in August 2014 with a huge surprise: they would be on stage with Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa (BOS). “Symphonic Bilbon” is once again a two-disc CD/DVD. Xabier Zabala is, at the same time, the director of BOS and the person in charge by Korrontzi to adapt their songs with arrangements for symphonic orchestra. BOS present an extraordinary adaption of folk music from a symphonic perspective and express the serene strength of classical music allied with “joie de vivre” of folk music. Korrontzi make their songs frolic with taste and freedom with the help of the exquisite symphonic accompaniment of BOS.
New challenges and projects wait in Korrontzi’s path. Basque traditional music will keep guiding the band’s new steps…