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16 - Mundua ala gu-
(The world or us?)

(Music: Traditional)
(Lyrics: Amets Arzallus)
(Arranged and produced by Joxan Goikoetxea & Alan Griffin)

[Eng] [Eus] [Es] [Fr] [It] [Cat]

Recording engineer: Joxan Goikoetxea
Recorded at Aztarna Studio (Hernani, Gipuzkoa) throughout 2017.

Mixing and Digital Mastering:
Mikel F.Krutzaga – Musikart Studio (Amezketa - Gipuzkoa).

Alex Sardui: vocals
Petti: vocals
Eñaut Elorrieta: vocals
Mikel Urdangarin: vocals
Amets Arzallus: vocals
Joxan Goikoetxea: accordion
Alan Griffin: whistle
Fiachra Mac Gabhann: bouzouki, mandolin

It had been Joxan’s desire for over fifteen years to use this tune, as he himself explains in his comments to the song. He seems to remember me playing the pipes on it back when we did the gigs with the bertsolaris.

Joxan is a lot younger than me, but I question his memory, because I actually played the pipes on another 6/8 tune that was a lot kinder to the instrument than this one. When I applied myself to this tune I immediately found it to be an entrenched enemy of legato, which ruled out all meaningful use of bagpipes and albokas.

Of course I could have dusted off the clarinet; except for Fiachra. Fiachra had never heard the song until Joxan played it to him in the studio. Twenty minutes later he’d put down the welter of bouzoukis and mandolin which defines the character of the recording. And of course in doing so he pulled it hard towards his home in Partry.

That’s why the clarinet didn’t fit with the bouzouki; and so the whistle was pressed into service in the end.

Fiachra said to me as he recorded: 'I can hear words for the last two lines of this tune’. And he sang, improvising a verse in the best bertsolari style: ‘So now my foolish sailor, a warning take by me / And never leave your wife at home when you go out to sea'. Indeed this could be the end of an interesting ballad in its own right.

There are other incidents associated with this track. Maybe one day Joxan will tell the world his adventures while recording the singers.

Gorozikako seme, frenteko soldadu,
mendian larrartean sentitu naiz salbu...
Rockaren izenean neure aita saldu,
baina zimur artean duda zait zabaldu:
nor aldatzen da gehien mundua ala gu?

I'm a man from Gorozika, a soldier at the front,
I felt safe on my mountain pastures,
I sold my own father for rock'n'roll,
But there are so many misers about
that I have to ask:
"Who changes most, the world or us?"

Kañabera sorotan hamaika esklabu,
ta ni Ibardineko langile kottadu...
Puruek zenbat hosto, ronak zenbat gradu,
zintzur erlastu honek galdera bat badu:
nor aldatzen da gehien mundua ala gu?

Many are slaves in the cane-fields,
And I'm an drudge from Ibardin,
So many tobacco leaves on the cigar, so many degrees in the rum,
This hoarse voice of mine must ask:
"Who changes most, the world or us?

Ilargi erori bat, ta lau izar galdu,
itsaso uhertu bat guregan dakargu,
borroka xarmatuak berea eman du,
ta galdetu nahi dugu ez bada berandu:
nor aldatzen da gehien mundua ala gu?

A fallen moon, four lost stars,
We're bringing a turbid sea down on ourselves,
The sweet fight has given its all,
And we wish to ask, unless it's too late:
"Who changes most, the world or us?"

Bitoriako blusak ator ederra du,
gitarra zahar batekin matxeten azaldu,
gero kutxillerian eguna zabaldu...
Goizean ispiluak galdetuko balu:
nor aldatzen da gehien mundua ala gu?

The man at the Vitoria fiestas wears
a fine shirt,
He arrives in Machete Square with
an old guitar,
He spends the day en Cuchillería St....
Well might the mirror ask:
"Who changes most, the world or us?

Bizi denak derrigor aldatu behar du,
munduak itzulika tai gabe dihardu,
kontraesan guziak hartuz geure kargu,
herri honek aurrera jarraitu nahi badu,
galdera berri baten beharra daukagu.
erantzun zaharrekin erdoildu gara gu
ta galdera berrien beharra daukagu.

All living things are bound to change
And the world must keep spinning;
We must bear with all the contradictions;
If this country is to keep going
We need a new question.
The old one is the worse for wear,
So we must ask a new question.

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Some years ago I worked on a number of projects for the Euskal Herriko Bertsozaleen Elkartea (Association of Friends Bertsolarismo). Amongst other things I did the arrangements of verses accompanied by music for the Basque TV programme Hitzetik Hortzera between 2002 and 2005. As a result I went through the Juanito Dorronsoro’s songbooks of tunes for verse improvising, a selection of which we used every Sunday evening on the programme..

One of these tunes stuck in my memory and I’ve made use of it on this album as a kind of bonus track: ‘Mundua ala gu’. Dorronsoro cites a Navarran origin and an original title of ‘Aita asmo hartu det'. I recall that we had a lot of fun on the instrumental solos, with Alan playing the bagpipe.

But here for reasons of tonality and timbre we’ve left the bagpipe out and centred the arrangement on Fiachra’s bouzouki, with which he steered the tune towards Ireland.

The rhythmic underlay he put down is a delight and allows us to hear five off the best-known voices in this country singing in a folk style that they wouldn’t nornally use.

Another pleasure is Amets’s words, specially composed with the lives of Alex, Petti, Eñaut, Mikel and himself in mind.

Like the fine bertsolari he is, he adds the final touches and repetition himself. Though the last verse is serious and profound, the recording was made in an atmosphere of good humour and companionship. (However, I’m not going to tell you about the incidents that occurred while recording such an illustrious group of singers.)

We’d all met on the tribute tour after Xabier Lete’s death and since then we’ve been firm friends. What Lete brought together let no man put asunder!

It was fun for me to see how Amets awaited the surprised reactions of the other singers to the verses he’d composed about them....

Still pending is a videoclip of this song. Our idea is to record it during dinner at a cider-house in Hernani this spring.

Watch out for it, because I’m sure the video will be as good as the music and singing.

We’ll see each other soon!!



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