A great tribute to life (…) Aritz Galarraga
The same way that there are records that smell of nothing -‘What do things that don’t smell, smell like?’, the poet wondered -there are records that give off an intense scent of homage. Eau d’hommage. Homage, which comes from the Latin word hominem, behind which there is usually a person to whom one wants to pay homage, redundancy aside -more abstract entities are also paid homage, such as nations, which I find difficult to understand: there is no one who receives the honors; I understand that this type of homage is about a self-homage-. Or, more than one person, there are usually several people, since to pay tribute to someone you need an honoree, but you also need homage-giver. Or several honorees and homage-givers, so this becomes a kind of bacchanalia, not necessarily carnal -in fact, they tend to be more of a spiritual, almost ethereal type-.
We start from the premise that Joxan Artze (1939-2018) is a really homageable guy: an avant-garde poet in his first books -from which come the texts collected here, as lucid as playful-, willing to mix poetry with other artistic disciplines, whom some have placed within a movement called ‘visual poetry’ -again, such labels mania-. Musical poetry could also be, given the large number of musicians who have put melody to his poems -all of them embodied by the great Mikel Laboa, creator of the national anthem ‘Txoria txori’, which is sung even by the rugby players of Aviron Bayonnais, and whose lyrics are believed to be already popular, when in fact the belong to Artze-. Always against the tide, above all fashions, innovating, searching, machete in hand, making his way through the thick jungle of official poetry. Sometimes experimental (Edipo berriari) and/or political-social (Amaren sabela), other times lyrical (Euria bezain garden) and/or spicy (Atso otsoa). A rara avis, but completely contemporary.
On the other hand, we find the tribute artists, two of them, IbonRG and Enrike Hurtado, both with a long musical career, who got together one fine day to pay tribute to our beloved poet. IbonRG continues here the path opened in his first album, ‘Hil zara’ (2019), working the voice both naked and accompanied by the piano; and Enrike Hurtado experiments, as in his solo projects Azunak and Bazterrak, with software developed by himself. The pieces that come out of it, eleven in total, are quite varied: they range from the most organic a cappella to the most electronic instrumental, giving special prominence to the txalaparta -instrument recovered for artistic purposes by Joxan Artze and his brother Jexux, by the way-, played in the old style -with a single wooden plank-, passed through the softwares created by Enrike -which grind and reorganize the sound-, or even playing the piano as if it were a txalaparta -with airs of the late Chick Corea-. And that is how this act is consummated, as a tribute I mean. A homage, which does not consist of saying how good you are, how tall, how handsome, what a nice mustache you have. A homage instead, which is like a starting point, an inspiration, kind of I take some little things from you, but I am going to do other little things, my own, not yours copied, but new ones, inspired, more closely, or remotely, by yours. Every act of creation is, in the end, an act of recreation: nobody creates anything -another redundancy- out of nothing. Every act of creation is, then, an act of homage, and this one in particular is a very particular one to Joxan Artze, to his/the poetry, to his/the incessant search, to his/the lack of conformism. And it is, ultimately -although it may seem like a slogan of a funeral parlor-, a great tribute to life. Thanks to the honoree and to those who have given us so much.
oMOrruMU baMAt. Eau d’hommage, Aritz Galarraga.