KALAKAN (vocal trio with Basque percussion) – KML Music KML 2123 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ***(*):
A most unusual CD from the label started by duo-piano stars Kartia and Marielle Labeque. First, don’t be confused by putting this in Google, because you’ll get a village in Afghanistan – not the name of this unique trio of Basque performers who combine their ancient Basque personalities and traditions with influences of rock, TV culture and the rest of today’s world. Kalakan sings in the odd Euskara Basque language which has long had linguists scratching their heads because it doesn’t seem to be linked to any other language on earth. The word Kalakan means “chatting” in Euskara, and the trio believes that the first music was language.
The trio performs live concerts without a microphone, but if you view their video on YouTube you’ll see why they don’t need one. In this video you can briefly see one of the instruments they use to accompany their songs. It is the Txalaparta, which consists of wooden planks and is the only known instrument in the world whose rhythm and melody are played by two people. They also use all sorts of traditional percussion as well drums the trio members crafted themselves. To see the instrument being played = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yRdLsie
The lyrics of all 16 songs are printed (in caps!) in the note booklet, but in Euskara! – thanks a lot. There is not even a link I could find to a site with the English translations, but for a pdf file of the translations go here. I won’t bother to list the 16 tracks here – they wouldn’t mean anything to most readers. Certainly a most singular disc for world music or folk fans seeking something completely different.
– John Henry