This article was translated by John R. Bopp
We know, we know, this is hardly a breaking story. But here, we’re always on the lookout for reports about the Basques in the world coming from media from outside our homeland. YouTube is part of the internet, so it’s quite easy for us to include it in that group.
So let’s get down to brass tacks. Today, we were sent a link via email to a video of a song that is very special to Basques, the «Agur Jaunak», being sung by The Kelly Family, a group that’s sold more than 20 million albums in their 35-year-long career. The video’s received over 750,000 hits since 2007.
So why is this group singing this sacred song of the Basques. A member of the group, John Kelly, tells us why on the EuskoSare website. This is just one of the many incredible (but true) stories (like meeting Bruce Springsteen in Paris after singing it as a farewell to friends in front of Notre Dame) that’s happened to them thanks to this song, which has undoubtedly become a sort of talisman for the group. Given their strong relationship with the Basques, we’re also including this entry in the «Basques in the world» category.
We have to imagine that most of our readers have already seen the video, but we’re sure they’d love to hear it again, so we decided to embed it right here in the blog. We’re also including two marvelous versions of two other Basque songs: the popular lullaby «Aurtxo polita,» and the Mikel Laboa song «Txoria txoria».
We’d hate to close this entry without first copying a part of the John Kelly interview we linked to earlier
We were playing at the fiestas in some towns in Aragón until we just happened to end up in Pamplona with only our instruments as a way to make any money. We entered a restaurant called El Mesón del Caballo Blanco (The House of the White Horse), and sang a few songs for the diners. As soon as we started passing the hat around, a man named Andoni, who was sitting at a table with no one less than Jorge Oteiza, the sculptor, told a large group of diners to sing «Agur Jaunak» for us. They all stood up and that’s when we first heard the notes to «Agur Jaunak». Such was the impact and so good were the voices that my father actually started crying. That group of diners was the Chamber Chorus of Pamplona. That day my father asked, «Where am I? What land have I reached? Who are these people?»
They would soon learn that they had reached the capital of the Land of the Basques, and they were so happy there that they stayed for a long time.
We hope you all enjoy these songs as much as we did (and that was a lot!)