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HAIZEA

Prog Folk • Spain


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Haizea biography
Basque progressive folk of the label Elkar, HAIZEA were a five-piece from the Basque area of Spain. Sporting a sound that could best be described as psychedelic electric folk, the instrumentation consists of guitar (sometimes two), bass, drums, flute, assorted percussive things, and the captivating voice of Amaia Zubiria.

Both albums are very interesting. "Hontz Gaua" is a classic prog free folk item with some Gregorian element, nice female (second male) vocals and beautiful atmospheric double bass. Their self-titled debut "Haizea"(75) is a bit more intimate and is more Fairport-like. Highly recommended.

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Hontz gauaHontz gaua
Elkar Xoxoa 2011
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HAIZEA discography


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HAIZEA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.75 | 7 ratings
Haizea
1975
4.11 | 20 ratings
Hontz Gaua
1976

HAIZEA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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HAIZEA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hontz Gaua by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.11 | 20 ratings

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Hontz Gaua
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Excellent prog from the Basque region!

Spain is a country whose progressive rock scene has always caught my attention; they have had lots of great bands through the years, names like Triana, Iceberg or Gotic entered to my ears some years ago and never left my musical collection. But there is a special kind of progressive rock from Spain, which comes from the Basque region (country?), and whose sound is very particular, besides the language, most of those bands blends delicate symphonic sound with hints of jazz, but the main element is the folk, so go figure, here with bands like Itoiz or Haizea, you will have great music, believe me.

Haizea´s second album entitled "Hontz Gaua" saw the light in 1976 and sadly it was their last record. Since I discover it, I felt pleased and thankful to the people who recommended it. Despite the album is relatively short (five tracks - 33 minutes) it is rich in sounds and musical elements. The first track is "Anderea", beautiful female vocals and charming music, great guitars and a wonderful bass sound, the mood is quite mellow and happy, though I don't know Basque so I cannot tell you about the lyrics.

"Egunarn Hastapena" starts with soft wind instruments here and there, then it makes a one- second stop and flutes begin to sound, the folk reminiscence is evident here. This composition is very vast and interesting, the mixture of colors and textures helps the listener enjoying this music. At half the song, acoustic guitars appear and change the music's direction, though the essence, is still the same.

"Argizagi Ederra" starts with that great female voice, but this time the music as background creates a dark atmosphere. Actually, the whole song follows the same path, the thing here is the addition of different elements through the minutes, so despite that dark atmosphere you can focus on other sounds.

"Arnaki" is an excellent track which opens with flute and acoustic guitar, later bass joins and that symphonic-folk sound begins, producing a gentle sound, that seconds later turns more interesting with the addition of drums. Then the music is faster and challenging, the musician's skills are evident here, also worth mentioning that here an electric guitar gives a different flavor to the music. A highlight on this album without a doubt!

The last and longest composition is "Hontz Gaua" which starts with some chanting, and after a minute and a half a beautiful flute sound, accompanied by acoustic guitar appears and begins to build up the song, later percussion appears in order to complement the already exquisite sound, if you are familiar with some of those Basque bands, then you will notice here that peculiar sound of theirs. The song has some stops and changes, after six minutes electric guitar, female chants as background and some percussion appear. The final part is pretty cool, it reminds me to the very first song of this album.

Well, I highly recommend this album to all of those who want to know about Basque folk prog, and actually for those who like folk, jazz and symphonic, give this record a chance. My final grade is four stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Haizea by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.75 | 7 ratings

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Haizea
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

3 stars Never had so much troubles making a review of a band as in the case of HAIZEA, especially for the really complex language that has absolutely no connection with Spanish and to be honest, almost with none I heard before, hard to get into it, but when you find the charm, it adds a bit of mystery to the already oneiric atmosphere.

It's also important to notice that this Basque band has a clear Folk sound with a few Prog elements, mostly Psyche, not fully Progressive but extremely beautiful, so may be a bit bland for extreme purists.

Despite the discussion among experts of the importance of Celtic inheritance in the Basque Country, is evident at the first listen of the self titled album that it's more than casual, even when mixed with Spanish elements, the classical pastoral sound of Medieval Celt is present in HAIZEA.

The album is soft and calmed, perfect for relaxation but without falling in the extremes of that bland hybrid called New Age, what is natural and inherited in HAIZEA members, is forced and artificial in New Age, this is why the band keeps the interest of the listener from start to end.

All the tracks are instrumental or with female vocals by the extraordinary Amaia Zubiría except Goizeko Euri Artean which is sung apparently by Xabier Lasa. The album flows gently from start to end not without interesting mixtures of Basque Folk elements a strong Celtic influence and a few Psychedelic passages that add more interest to an already good album.

Every track brings a surprise, but the biggest one comes in the closer Arrosa Xuriaren Azpian the only epic of the album which is practically two songs, the first half clearly Folk and the conclusion full of jamming and captivating sounds but without loosing the soft and dreamy atmosphere.

A good album for fans of STEELEYE SPAN or FAIRPORT CONVENTION, bands in which the Prog element is present but clearly the weight of the composition and the transcendence of the album is in the ethnic component.

As my first experience with the band I rate it with 3 solid stars, that should be 3.5, but the system has it's limits.

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 Hontz Gaua by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.11 | 20 ratings

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Hontz Gaua
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars Haizea’s second and final release starts off where their debut left off: simple, unassuming folk music with very little embellishment. Decent music, but like their first album this isn’t very progressive or very memorable.

Things get better quickly though, and the next track “Egunaren Hastapena” shows some experimentation with intertwined flute and strings (cello and violin I think, but the liner notes don’t say), plus of course the ever-present Spanish guitar. This is a very beautiful instrumental that would hold its own alongside similar works from Los Jaivas, Calix, or even that odd French band Chrysalide. Very ethereal, delicate arrangements with most emphasis on the mood as opposed to a story or theme. “Argizagi Ederra” continues in much the same vein, but here the singer Amaia’s singing and chanting blend seamlessly with the flute.

The band introduces a bit of a rocking sound and electric guitar (or possibly acoustic with metal strings) on “Arnaki”. This is one of those rolling instrumentals with a great sense of melody that just makes you feel a little happier for having heard it. Quite a departure for the band but well done.

And the closing “Hontz Gaua” can probably be considered the band’s magnum opus, or as close as they would ever get since it is both their longest and last song they recorded together. Here the band finally shows some definite Basque tendencies with soft hand drums, pastoral chanting, and several laid back wooden and metal percussive instruments. But the dominant instrument is once again the flute, which persists throughout except in the middle a bit where what appears to be a xylophone is mixed with the guitar in a sort of hypnotic trance passage. The song winds down after fourteen minutes or so with a closing vocal passage by Amaia that I suppose is the finishing up of a tale of some sort, but one has to know the language to tell for sure.

This is a much more experimental and adventurous album than the band’s debut, and it is kind of sad that this is was final release because I think they managed to show their capacity to stretch themselves quite well and would probably have made some really great music had they stayed together long enough for a few follow-ups. As it is this is a four star affair, and is well recommended to fans of folk music and also to world music fans that prefer their sounds on the mellow side.

peace

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 Haizea by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.75 | 7 ratings

BUY
Haizea
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars Haizea were a Basque folk quintet who produced two studio albums in their brief career. This one, the first, is the more placid of the two, all acoustic and with one male and one female vocalist who take turns singing rather than act as a duet.

This is pleasant enough folk music, although it isn’t really Basque and it isn’t actually very progressive. The songs have a sort of non-descript traditional folk feel to them, with the Basque influences detectably pretty much only in the vocals.

Except for the lengthy and closing “Arrosa Xuriaren Azpian” these are all rather short tracks of four or five minutes and are quite similar. The music consists mostly of a couple acoustic guitars (one picking and one strumming usually), a delicate oboe with contrabass setting the rhythm, and the two vocalists. There’s some flute but not as much as one would typically expect from Latin folk music, and occasional uncredited bits of percussion (again, not as much as is typically found in Latin music).

A couple tracks (“Loa Loa” and “Oreina Bila”) are almost all acoustic noodling with lullaby-like vocals, and “Goizeko Euri Artean” sounds like a Basque version of a John Denver tune.

The closing track and “Ura Ixuririk” introduce just a hint of psych guitar which would figure more prominently on the band’s second and final album, but that sound is only hinted at here.

There’s really not much else to say about this album, other than it has an agreeable enough sound, but probably won’t do much to appeal to most progressive music fans. Two stars for fans, but that’s about it.

peace

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 Hontz Gaua by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.11 | 20 ratings

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Hontz Gaua
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by Heptade
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I have to agree with Hughes Chantraine's evaluation...as a fan of folk prog, I rate this album very highly. I was just listening to both Haizea albums the other day, and I enjoy the debut almost as much- I think it's a wonderful folk album on a par with Tangerine's De L'Autre Côté de la Forêt, another hidden gem from the 70s. But Haizea upped the complexity on this record and added some interesting percussion interludes as well. The female and male vocals are top quality, harmonizing beautifully, and the Basque folk feel adds a pleasant exoticism. Haizea also featured some of the nicest flute playing you'll ever hear on a prog record. The group shows itself to be as adept at longer conceptual pieces as it was at lighter, pastoral folk tunes. A beautiful Sunday morning record.

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 Hontz Gaua by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.11 | 20 ratings

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Hontz Gaua
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars 4,5 stars really!!!

If their debut album was a quiet pastoral and bucolic affair, this second (and unfortunately last) album is in a much different class and is one of the best folk prog albums from not only Continental Europe but also the whole planet. Unlike some of my fellow reviewer, I do not specifically (outside of the vocals which are in Basque as opposed to English in the debut) detect any major Basque ethnic musical characteristics. Actually the first track sounds quite Fairport Convention (it is also the poorest and shortest of the album) and will remind you of the debut album. If the album as a whole sounds like a typical folk prog album, there are some notable and surprising (and delightful) differences.

The album starts per se from the second track with a delicious flute soon relayed by a cello (actually a bowed contrabass) over wind chimes, the song taking a medieval ambiance that only the flutes can enhance even more to reach a dancing climax and completely unexpected ending. The droning bowed contrabass returns to accompany the superb vocals (in a very pure celtic tradition except for the complex Basque language) but soon quite unexpectedly the electric guitar takes for a short but psych solo into a fade out (strangely reminding me of Amon Duul II's Chris Karrer). Arnaki is maybe my fave track on the first side with a delightful flute leading into an upbeat almost jig-like tempo before the electric guitar takes over but this time less abrupt but for a lengthier exploration.

Liturgical vocals (but sung rather clumsily and oddly chosen when knowing what is to come later on in the track) start the sidelong epic of the second side, with water streams guitar arpeggios and superb flutes lines taking over with bongos and tabla drums making slowly the change into a slightly raga feel. The tracks almost dies out and different bells wake up the electric guitars which takes a bit of time to find its way before changing direction when hearing female vocalist moaning and groaning, and there is more of psychedelic improvisations bordering on free jazz but never crossing the line - not always necessary noodlings but generally charming. Once calmed down the flute comes back with the droning contrabass giving again chilling medieval ambiances before the crystal singing of Amaia takes over. Reminds me of Crimson's Formantera Lady and a pity the album is so short!!!

One of the hidden gems coming from the Spanish federation (if the Basque will allow me) and a small but not flawless chef d'oeuvre. Easily my the top 25 of folk prog albums, IMHO.

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 Haizea by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.75 | 7 ratings

BUY
Haizea
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars The firstrecord of Basque group Haizea is really a full blown Folk Rock album with only very slight touches of psych or prog overtones. Neither is it overtly Basque-sounding (outside the obvious Basque speaking voice), meaning that it does not sound like the traditional village music either for festivities or or cultural events such as the Basque pelota or even the special dances or stilt competitions. No, it simply sounds like a calm and subdued Fairport Convention sung in another language.

This is especially true for the first side of the vinyl except the second track which sounds a bit like Andean folk music. The more interesting tracks are on the second side where there are slight touches of what is to come in their much better second al;bum. From the start Ura Ixuririk sounds slightly more adventuresome and this is confirmed by timid (but noticable) psych electric guitar lines . One finds the same same ambiances but slightly more outlined in the following track and the third track the 9 min Arrosa Xuriaren Azpian is also diverging slightly from the rest of the album and allows a few improvisation around the end.

Although not as exciting as their other one, the album (like its follow-up) is however quite short, and one wishes that the CD releases would've released both albums on one Cd especially that the succession of both album is musically quite an impressive evolution, the last track of the debut album making the perfect intro to the first tracks of the second album.

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 Hontz Gaua by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.11 | 20 ratings

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Hontz Gaua
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars HAIZEA was another one of those basque groups that I usually prefer to most of the spanish bands since they are lacking the flamenco element which is not so much "my cup of tea". Their debut Hontz Gaua was quite a impressing one showing great diversity and some nice features.

The opener Anderea is probably the weakest one of the five songs although being not really bad. It's actually a nice folk song with acoustic guitar and beautiful vocals by Amaia more in the tradition of american folk like Joan Baez. Egunarn Hastapena is more in a psychedelic folksy vein with flute, percussion, acoustic guitar and I clearly can hear some sort of cello that's actually not listed in the line- up as well a violin. Staying most of the time in a quite atmospheric mood it has a short up- tempo and more cheerful section at the end. Argizagi Ederra is a very quiet and mesmerizing piece sounding a bit influenced by spiritual Asian music with some rather odd acoustic guitar. Amaki is the only up-tempo song and in my view together with the last one the highlight of the album. It's an instrumental one with electric guitar and great drum-work. The final title track which is the longest one with almost 15 minutes is a great quite diverse composition.Starting with a Gregorian chanting it continues with acoustic guitar, flute, percussion and some wordless vocals in a nice very soft vein. Then there is a quite weird and psychedelic section with moaning and guitar almost in the best RIO tradition. Finally it calms down again to a soft vein with cello and flute combined with beautiful vocals. Really an awesome and impressing track!

SUMMARY

I'd like to say that this album is an excellent one and very close to a masterpiece.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to anyone looking for an original Prog in the folkish vein!!

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 Hontz Gaua by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.11 | 20 ratings

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Hontz Gaua
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by lucas
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Haizea are a band from Basque Country but they are often labeled as a spanish band. Their music is deeply rooted in the Basque tradition, with vocals sung in Basque, mainly by a female artist, but you can also hear some male vocals, sounding like gregorian chants on the overture of the last track, and a music rather acoustic with the prominence of acoustic guitar and flute. The musicianship is very good, and the music is overall very quiet, with some weirdness at times. This album deserves more attention from people who like their prog with a touch of folk music (I mean in the tradition of bands like Jethro Tull or Renaissance) and is a must-have for anyone looking for some beautifully cragted compositions.

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