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Boa Music, Spain

For those who still don't know them, the band Berrogüetto is considered by many around the world as one of the best Galician bands. This accomplishment stands out in itself if we take into account that one of the contestants for that title answers by the name of Milladoiro. Much of the success of the band is due to the acceptance of their first two albums, Navicularia and Viaxe por Urticaria, both of them true masterpieces whose main quality is the original and contemporary approach taken by the musicians to the traditional tunes.

cd cover There was therefore much expectation surrounding their third release, premiered in December 2001 in the Galician town of Santiago de Compostela. Hepta (seven in ancient Greek) is built around the number 7 and its several meanings in nature and society. Seven are the colors of the rainbow, seven are the main arts, seven are the musical notes, seven are the days of the week. And seven also are the members of the band: Anxo Pintos (hurdy gurdy, bagpipes, sax), Guadi Galego (vocals, bagpipes), Santiago Cribeiro (accordeon), Quim Farina (violin), Quico Comesana (mandolin, harp, bouzouki), Guillermo Fernandez (guitars, bass) and Isaac Palacin (percussion, drums).

The Hepta project was considered by the band as much more than a musical project. For the artistic conception of the album, the band contacted the French artist Georges Rousse, who is known for spanning several art forms like photography, architecture, sculpture and painting. The Paris-born artist has gained worldwide acclaim for his interventions in abandoned and condemned sites. He alters those sites as part of a process of photographing them, reinventing them and giving them new life through the resulting photographs. Violinist Farina says, "there is a great similarity between Berrogüetto and Georges Rousses's work because our game consists in recovering traditional tunes that are also condemned, forgotten and abandoned." Just like Rousse works a certain site and immortalizes it through photography, Berrogüetto work the traditional tunes and instruments, giving them a new structure and rendering them immortal in each recording. For this project Rousse's intervention took place in Sargadelos, a 200-year old abandoned factory, near Lugo, in Galicia. For seven days, in July 2001 (the seventh month of the year), the artist worked with the seven band members in order to recover the space and integrate the musicians in the surrounding environment. The artists offered their bodies to be painted, each in one of seven different colors, and were then photographed in the environment of the abandoned factory.

Once again Berrogüetto lives up to musical expectations, too. During thirteen tunes, the album uses the formula that brought them success in their previous recordings, using contemporary music styles like pop and jazz to interact with the traditional tunes and instruments of Galicia. Berrogüetto have created a record that does not wear out after one or two listenings. Each listening reveals small details in the tunes' structure or in the way that the sounds of each intruments interact with each other. And once again we notice that Berrogüetto works as a true band, since all of the elements are equally important in helping to give shape to each tune.

Just as they had done in their previous album, Berrogüetto invited some guest musicians to participate on a few songs, including the Armenian master of the duduk Djivan Gasparyan, Hungarian cimbalon player Kalman Balogh, and Swedish nickelharpist Markus Svensson.

Although the high quality of the tunes remains during almost all of the album, I would like to point "Nanatsu," "Vinte Anos," "Armenia," "Albores" and "Samesugas" as the highlights. There is a hidden track in the end of the record (after the last tune) but it's one that I could live without, because it's nothing more than a remix of one of the other songs of the album.

This is yet another record that helps to fortify the position that Berrogüetto have achieved in the european traditional music scene. Those that already know the band might say that this record is not as good as the previous (the difference is not that big, though), however there are lots of musicians out there who would love that their best album was as good as this one. - Joao Maia

More audio samples and CD available at

Audio: "Samesugas" ©2001 Boa Music, Spain, used by permission
Editors note: This is one of the new "piracy encoded" CDs that does not play on many computers. I have had a mixed reports from folks who have it as to what programs will and will not play the music from your machine. It plays perfectly on ALL standard CD audio players. It's just one more way the recording industry is working hard to frustrate you.

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