engineer: Joxan Goikoetxea
Recorded at Aztarna Studio (Hernani, Gipuzkoa) throughout 2017.
and Digital Mastering:
Mikel F.Krutzaga – Musikart Studio (Amezketa - Gipuzkoa).
Joxan Goikoetxea: accordion,
synthesisers, piano, percussion, programming
Jon Mari Beasain: acoustic
Juanjo Otxandorena: bouzouki
Alan Griffin: flute, clarinet
Peter Maund: doumbek
October 1936 when Franco's troops took the town of Hernani, Gipuzkoa,
they rounded up and shot about 200 townspeople. Many of the murders
were carried out on what is still called 'Death Hill', a couple of hundred
metres from where we recorded the song. Several of the bodies have not
yet been recovered, and, as the lyrics state, there has been little
discussion of the atrocity until recently.
In 2016 a commemoration of the victims was held at the wall of the town
cemetery, where many were also gunned down. As part of the ceremony
the bertsolari (verse-improviser) Amets Arzallus
composed and sang these words. It rained heavily all the while.
The tune, known as 'Lurrarenpean' ('Beneath the Ground') is popular
with bertsolaris and is usually reserved for subject matter
of tragic import. It's a title that seems particularly apt for these
verses. There's an instrumental version on Alboka's eponymous first
Lurraren pean sar nindaiteke,
maitia, zure ahalgez!
Bost phentsaketa eginik nago
zurekin ezkondu beharrez;
Bortha barnetik zerratu eta
bethi khamberan nigarrez,
Sendimenduak airian eta
Ene changrinez hil erazteko
sorthua zinen arauez !
Oren hunian sortuia zinen
izar ororen izarra!
Zure parerik etzaut jiten
neure begien bistara.
Espos laguntzat gald'egin zintudan
erran nerauzun bezala
Bainan zuri ez iruditu
zuretzat aski nintzala;
Ni baino hobebatekila
Jainkoak gertha zitzala!
Zure ganako amodioa
sekulan ezdut utziko.
Charmagarria, nahi ez giren
Behin maite izan zaitut eta
Bihotzian sarthu zitzautzat
Denak berdintzen omen gaituen heriotz gezurrezkoak,
batzuen hezur desagertuak, besteen tumba urrezkoak...
Ez ditu denak berdin argitzen historiaren ezkoak,
su harez gero pasatu dira laurogei urte kezkoak...
ta bakearen lore bitxiak erroak fusilezkoak.
Fusilak gauak zaintzen zituen inork ez zezan amestu,
matxinoez gain izango ziren zenbait salatari prestu,
denen artean horma eraiki eta bidea errextu,
ta azkeneko errukarriak fusila hartzean estu,
esku batek bost hatzamar baina hatzamar hark zenbat esku?
Esku zikinak asko izanak estaltzen ditu krimenak,
pistaren batzuk izango dira oraindik bizi direnak,
mututasuna betirako da jotzean azken orenak,
behingoz egiak aska ditezen astindu begi barrenak,
fusilatzean bat da hiltzaile, ixiltasunean denak.
Nork otoizten du, ta oroitzen du, ezjakintasun osoan...?
Malkoa ere nekez jausten da zehaztu gabeko soan?
Noraezean hemen gabiltza atzerakako pausoan,
kale izenak denak nahasturik fusilatuen auzoan,
ta zein zaila den gogoratzea egia bere lausoan.
Bake beltz honen lore bitxia gal dadila elurrean,
ta ez dadila berriro hazi erroturik beldurrean,
justizi pixkat eskatzen dugu hormatzarraren aurrean,
eta egia hartutakoan gure esku ahurrean,
beste bake bat ereingo dugu oroimenaren lurrean.
say death is a leveller
But this is a lie,
For the bones of some vanish,
While others lie in gilded tombs.
History shines its light not
Equally on all things.
Since the great conflagration
There have been eighty years of smoke,
And the strange flowers of peace
Have their roots in the guns.
The guns watched at night
So that none might dream,
For although there were rebels,
There were willing informers too;
Between them all they raised a wall
And opened up a path,
Until the last wretch
Squeezed the trigger;
Five fingers to a hand, but
How many hands to a finger?
Many dirty hands were used
To cover up the crimes,
But yet there must be trails
That are still warm.
All is silenced forever
When the final hour strikes.
If you wish to know the truth
Look deep into yourself.
Though only one may be the killer,
The others remain silent.
Who will pray and who recall
In thoroughgoing ignorance?
Tears do not easily fall
When one's face is averted.
And here we aimlessly
All street-names are mixed
In the suburb of the slain,
And how hard it is to recall
The truth when it is occluded.
May the strange flower
of this black peace
Wither in the snow,
May it never bloom again
Out of roots of fear.
We call for some justice
Before these walls,
And when we have truth
In the palm of our hands
A different peace we'll sow
In the ground of our memory.
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notes to the previous track, ‘Beste larogei urtian', explain what
led us to record these verses by Amets Arzallus. Nonetheless, the feelings
of shock, sorrow, anger and powerlessness come back each time we hear
At one point our singer Xabi was so overcome by what he was singing
that he had to stop the recording and go outside.
like to take this opportunity to congratulate Xabi on his wonderful
performance, here and on the rest of the album. He was in marvellous
form, recording two albums at the same time, Lurra, ur, haize
and his solo Zuhaitzak ez du beldurrik.....
first met Amets Arzallus on the Xabier Lete tribute tour, which
brought together musicians, singers, writers and bertsolaris (verse-improvisers).
Later I worked with him on SDB – Sortuko dira besteak
and other projects, including IHES (‘Flight’),
which was just the two of us.
IHES Amets used his verses and other texts to examine what
drives a person to flee from a situation.
Sadly, flight wasn’t an option for the subjects of these chilling
verses. Amets actually wanted to sing them himself. We’ll have
the chance to do it in live performance, Amets...
In the general comments above we speak of a number of places in Hernani
associated with this black chapter in our recent history, like Death
Hill and Galarreta. Here I’d like to talk about the cemetery.
was born a mere 200 yards from the cemetery gate. It’s on a height
called Telleri-Gain and paradoxically is a pleasant quiet place for
a walk in fine weather. I practically learnt to walk myself on the gravel
path there and I often played with the gravel itself, that same gravel
that had been crunched in the silence of a tragic night.
For Joxebe Goia, who lived in the house at the cemetery gate, told of
how the soldiers had used cover of darkness to bring in their macabre
loads along the gravel path, and how the crunching gravel gave them
Joxebe Goia was well-known in Hernani and I remember her with affection
and respect. Her testimony and that of many other have helped to reconstruct
those early days of the Civil War and are recorded in an interesting
book which I recommend you to read. Justice and redress for all the
victims of the Civil War and Francoism.
and redress for all the victims of the Civil War and Francoism...