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Haizea - Hontz Gaua CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.97 | 50 ratings

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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.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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