This entry could be considered a second part to the entry we wrote yesterday to report on a concert put on by Basque txalaparta players at the Jorge Luis Borges Auditorium at the National Library in Buenos Aires.
One detail caught our attention: the fact that the txalaparta to be used at the concert was built in the middle of Buenos Aires, at Walter’s workshop. Intrigued, we dug deeper, and found a huge collection of photographs on the group’s Facebook page of their stay in Argentina, including an extensive “photo report” of the construction of the wooden instrument.
We imagine, we’d love it, if the cedar used were Mission or Argentine cedar (Cedrela fissilis), a species that grows in the Mission jungle, that is, the subtropical jungle in the current Argentine province of Misiones. That species of wood packs this txalaparta with symbolism, as it took the ancient sound of that Basque instrument to a place where everything Basque has such an extraordinary weight.
Nevertheless, even if it had been made of ombú, whose less dense wood would probably not have the necessary features for the txalaparta, it would still have been highly symbolic. After all, ombú was, for many Basque émigrés to Argentina, for political or economic reasons, considered a worthy “substitute” to our sacred oak.
But Mission cedar is deeply symbolic, which was born in its land of origin, or rather, in what happened in the 17th and 18th centuries in the area now split between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. That was where the Jesuits created the Jesuit Guaraní missions, developing a social, political, and even military structure which, for a time, withstood the expansionism and slavery of the European colonizers, until the Jesuit were expelled.
We may be unrepentant romantics, but we think it’s beautiful to know that the wood of a tree native to that region which has had such a remarkable influence from a congregation founded by a Basque and in which Basques have been so influential was used to build this txalaparta.
We’ll leave you with a link to thr Oreka TX photo collection recounting their stay in Buenos Aires and the building process of this “Argentine” txalaparta.
Oreka TX (Facebook) – 12/2014 – Euskadi
Oreka TX en Argentina