This article was translated by John R. Bopp

In 1952 and 1953, we Basques south of the Pyrenees were incredibly lucky to have a visit from an extraordinary man: Alan Lomax.  This unique American was an important ethnomusicologist and is considered one of the great compilers of popular songs of the 20th century.

He visited us in 1952 and 1953, travelling across the northern part of the lower Basque Country, making wonderful recordings that take us to another time–one that is very different from ours and which, despite everything, we can recognize as our country and our culture.

We’re not going to explain much more, as his work speaks for itself.  But we would like to leave a reference to the Wikipedia article on him, so you can get an overview of his work, and a reference to two articles written about him in El País about the digital archive of his works, which can be found online, and a final reference to the documentary Dutchman Rogier Kappers filmed on his work.

We’ll also leave you with links to the recordings this researcher made in Biscay, Gipuzcoa, and Navarre, along with a song from Iparralde recorded in London and sung by brothers Arbarco and Etchahoun Treville, two Basques from north of the Pyrenees.

We can’t help but recognize the extraordinary work that is being done now that will have a huge value for Basques 50 years from now, just like the work of Alan Lomax does for us.  We’re talking about the SOINUMAPA.NET collaborative project, which we’ve already spoken about here.  

We’ve also used the recordings Lomax made of “Abenduko hilaren hogeitalauean” to provide music for our Christmas greeting this year.

Wikipedia -USA

Alan Lomax

Alan Lomax (January 15, 1915 – July 19, 2002) was one of the great American field collectors of folk music of the 20th century. He was also a folklorist, ethnomusicologist, archivist, writer, scholar, political activist, oral historian, and film-maker. Lomax also produced recordings, concerts, and radio shows in the U.S and in England, which played an important role in both the American and British folk revivals of the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s. During the New Deal, with his father, famed folklorist and collector John A. Lomax and later alone and with others, Lomax recorded thousands of songs and interviews for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress on aluminum and acetate discs.

(Continue) (Automatic Translation)

El País – 7/7/2012 – España

Cazador de melodías remotas

Cuentan las crónicas que la Guardia Civil no perdió de vista a Alan Lomax durante los siete meses de 1952 que el folclorista deambuló por media España. Los agentes tenían noticia de que aquel americano estrafalario quería recopilar cantos rurales a través de un inmenso magnetófono para discos de acetato que atesoraba en su maleta, pero la misión les parecía tan inverosímil que se dispararon todas las alarmas. Sospecharon que fuera un espía o un comunista peligroso antes de persuadirse de que, aunque extravagante, aquel hombre de 37 años resultaba inofensivo. Y así fue como el responsable del archivo fonográfico en la Biblioteca del Congreso Estadounidense obtuvo el primer y más asombroso testimonio sonoro y etnográfico de un país aún sumido en la miseria de la posguerra, 75 horas de grabaciones que compendiaban la música tradicional de toda la Península y las islas Baleares.

(Continue) (Automatic Translation)

El País – 11/2/2012 -España

El santo grial del folclore está en la Red

Alan Lomax (1915-2002), folclorista extraordinario, viajero incansable, etnomusicólogo de personalidad tempestuosa, músico, escritor y cineasta ocasional soñó hacia el final de su vida que el enorme archivo de grabaciones de campo que amasó durante seis décadas estaría algún día disponible para todo el mundo y en todas partes en una de esas primitivas computadoras que tan ajenas resultaban a su alma de beatnick. Fue antes de obrarse ese milagro llamado Internet y antes de que un ataque le arrebatara las más elementales dotes comunicativas, tan cruciales para el antropólogo. Aquella y otras utopías se han hecho al fin realidad. Veinte años después de ser soñado y cumplida una década de la muerte del soñador, el proyecto Global Jukebox, una suerte de gramola global, echó a andar en la Red el 30 de enero, día en el que habría cumplido su 97 cumpleaños.

(Continue) (Automatic Translation)

Recordings of Basque Culture

Examples:

Agur Jaunak (Tolosa, 1952)

Campanas de la Catedral de Pamplona (Iruña, 1952)

Txalupa handixe (I) (Ondarroa, 1952)

List of recordings catalogued as Basque culture

————————

A special link to the music from north of the Pyrenees, recorded in London (Recording)

Adieu (London , 1951)

——————-

Map of the locations of the recordings

Here

anuncio-productos-basque-728x85-2