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17 - Zamalzain -
('The Groom’ or ‘The Hobby-Horse’)

(Music: Traditional)
(Arranged and produced by Joxan Goikoetxea)

[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).

Alan Griffin: whistle, flute, Jew's harp and voice (lilting)
Joxan Goikoetxea: accordion, piano, synthesisers, percussion, programming, ttun-ttun and txirula
Iosune Marin: vocals
Juanjo Otxandorena : bouzouki

Opening txalaparta taken from the album Egurraren Orpotik dator… by Juan Mari Beltran & Joxan Goikoetxea (1993, NOCD Rekords)

This is Joxan's development of a well-known Souletin ring-dance, usually called the 'bralia kontrapas'.

The Major thirds of the original tune have been flattened into minor and some adjustments made to the melodic line. These changes don't affect its danceability, as we found when we test-ran it with dantzaris.

Joxan had it in his head for a long time to arrange this dance. I'm not sure, though, if he was clear about the way he wanted it to go. I think he threw in a lot of ingredients to see which ones would work. I'm familiar with this approach: it's how I make a curry. Of course, Joxan could fish back out of the mix the things he didn't like, whereas anything that goes into my curry is in to stay. Anyway, after about three minutes the piece veers off into a haze, which I leave Joxan to explain.

As for my own contribution, I just rowed in with his suggestions for instruments or even voice (how about that!). It was one of the most relaxed recordings I've ever done; mostly I could do what I pleased within the harmonic and rhythmic framework. It all went down in single takes, as I recall.

















Kontrapasak hirur puntu
arrabiten zurdetan


In the the Souletin Maskarada,
the zamaltzain, or zamalzain,
is a 'hobby-horse',
a rider-cum-horse figure which is
also a prominent element in the folk traditions
of many Western European cultures.

The dancer wears an elongated frame around
his waist, with a diminutive carved horse-head
at the front, and thus represents both rider
and horse at once.

Zamalzain is indispensable in the Souletin
'bralia-kontrapas' and other dances.
Needless to say, his relationship to the
wooden animal of the nursery is remote.





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As part of the Maite K project, conceived and directed by Pier Paul Berzaitz, I arranged this traditional dance for performance by the Kukai dance-troupe under the direction of Jon Maya. I’d learnt the tune from Juan Mari Beltran and I borrowed for inclusion here a txalaparta extract from my album with Juan Mari, Egurraren orpotik dator... (1993).

The modulation of the original melody into minor took on a distinct character that suggested exploration by different instruments. I liked the idea of it drifting into a chill out, and both Alan and I agreed from the beginning that this would be the closing track on the CD. Alan’s lilting is perhaps sunk a little too far in the mix, but I’ll try to put that right in a future remix.

I have warm memories of Fernando Larruquert, who passed away in 2016. I borrowed the idea of a neighing horse and txalaparta hoofbeats from his wonderful film Euskal Herri-Musika (1978). Fernando was also the author of the cover-photo for Alboka’s first album.



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