The Fair Saturday Foundation closed its cultural programming for solitary purposes at the Euskalduna Auditorium, which covered its reduced capacity to the claim of the «Gure Bihotzak» concert. In the date figures of music in Basque such as Eñaut Elorrieta, Izaro or the voice of Zea Mays Aiora Rentería would magnify songs from their harvest, supported by the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra (BOS) and the Choral Society, directed by the composer and arranger Fernando Velázquez from Getxo.
Although seeing Basque orchestras on these sidewalks has become normal and some encounters are beginning to be recurrent, the event had its appeal beyond its spirit of claiming culture as an essential activity and the revitalizing power of music in hard times. The truth is that, even with its moments, in terms of music, the appointment was somewhat washed out, affected by a certain institutional pageantry, a sound that could be improved, and a certain sense of improvisation and lack of dynamism
This was helped by the choice to alternate successive interpretations of themes by each of the participants that, inexplicably, no one presented. Not even in the case of novice singers like Idoia Asurmendi from San Sebastian. Who is this girl? they wondered in an adjoining armchair while the singer formada en Musikene He appreciated the opportunity before interpreting fluently in Spanish a testimonial song from his family memory
The rosary of entrances and exits that followed somewhat weighed down the concert that perhaps there would be if each vocalist would have chained all their songs developing a differentiated interpretation. Broadcast live in 360º streaming for the whole of the Basque Country through fsnext.org, the evening began solemnly with a minimalist interpretation of the “Agur Jaunak” in memory of the victims of the pandemic and some sensitive verses by Kirmen Uribe about resilience and collective hope accompanied by evocative visuals
A choral interpretation of the central theme “Gure Bihotzak” acted as an overture to the recital that, vocally, began by Pello Reparaz, alias Zetak. The former member of the festive Navarrese combo Vendetta was the only one minimally introduced when interpreting, somewhat inhibited by the symphonic accompaniment, ‘Zeinen ederra izango den’, the central theme “in honor of those we left behind” of his new electronic project. Winner of the Goya for the music of ‘A monster comes to see me’, the director and brilliant cinematic composer Fernando Velázquez channeled the choral meeting taking advantage of the previous work done with the Euskadi Symphony (OSE) to give orchestral clothes to Ken Zazpi, Izaro or the Zea Mays themselves. “My job here is to go round and round”the director had summed up.
With boards on this terrain and vocal poise, the leader of the former, Eñaut Elorrieta, opened his part by recreating his collaboration with Velázquez in ‘Harbide Zilar Bat / Una calzada silverada’ (In this desolate station … what lies beyond? , they wondered in the lyrics that, in cases of special emotional depth, appeared translated in the videos on the background screen). Migrant rafters and children of war appear in “Errefuxiatuena” that in his first appearance Izaro interpreted looking more at the orchestra than at the staff. More and more versatile and settled on the scene, the Biscayan resident in Donostia would later show herself more loosely repeating her versions with the OSE of ‘My Gray Scale’ and ‘Paris’, changing in her lyrics ‘the dance in the Plaza Notre Dame’ by the Euskalduna
Although the acoustics of its guitarist Iñaki Imaz were inaudible, the singer of Zea mays Aiora Renteria seemed to enjoy by taking, with the help of Velázquez, “Kea” to the epic and choral terrain of Sergio Leone’s Morricone. He also magnified in the vein of orchestral rock, and somewhat covered by the strings, “Elektrizatea” to enjoy and connect with the audience, pulling the popular ‘Negua joan da ta’ in its closing, which even sounded, for good, something Eurovision. Sandwiched before, an emotional romantic piece from the last climb to Gorbea by Jose Mari Sedano (the tribute to the elderly and affected by Alzheimer’s) and, favored by epic final crescendos, the interpretations that Elorrieta was sequencing of ‘Ez dago ezer’ before resorting to the duo that Ken Zazpi had already recorded with the OSE ‘Itsasoak gara’ and ‘Haizea’.
Without being on the program, Iñaki Uranga, who appeared with a mask and chose to interpret “My Way” in the same crooneristic vein (and somewhat hotelier) that he exhibited last Christmas with a big band in the Euskaduna himself. Without perhaps specifying or rehearsals, Iñaki demonstrated his tables, thanking the organizers for the invitation, praising the “superproduction” and his colleagues to present the Guinean botxero Pascual Molongua, an ebony throat popular for decades in the streets of Bilbao. He introduced him with affection as “The Gregory Porter from Bilbao” Louis Armstrong must have said, because the somewhat handicapped Pascual (they helped him out on stage) once again received the local appreciation by interpreting with his broken rajo one more year on Fair Saturday his usual “What a wonderful world” And it is that, after they came to consider him dead during confinement, for Pascual the world continues to be wonderful.
After meeting on stage all the participants with the orchestra and choir to receive repeated ovations from the masked and restrained audience, Fernando Velázquez guided the BOS in “One leg on the ground, another on the air” (theme by Jon Sarasua and from the soundtrack of the group project Mondragon Humanity at music with visuals by the clowns Pirritx eta Porrotx) and a new choral version of ‘Gora Bihotzak’ to put the finishing touch with a final interpretation of the classic Basque Christmas carol « Hator hator »that will fit very well in the Christmas special that EITB will broadcast shortly. Surely the television edition will hide shortcomings and energize the show by amplifying its good artistic, emotional and solidarity intentions