Oreka TX

Oreka TX


In the early part of the new millennium, a pair of intrepid musicians who call themselves Oreka TX took their txalaparta, a locally beloved but otherwise little-known instrument, and traveled to India, Lapland, Mongolia, and the Sahara in search of fresh collaborations, adventures and ideas.


The Basques are a unique group of people whose origins are somewhat surrounded in mystery. They are believed to be prehistoric inhabitants of Europe and possibly the direct descendents of Cro-Magnon man; they’re language is entirely different from any other European language and it is apparently the only Western European language that does not belong to the Indo-European family.

But they have another unique thing … the TXALAPARTA.

It consists of some wood planks placed on two stands covered with an insulating material. Wood freely vibrates when two people (txalpartaris) vertically hit them, each one with two wooden sticks.

The origin of the Txalaparta is surrounded by myths. Some people place it in the prehistoric cavern , imitating their galloping sound. Or used as a way of communication among Basque tribes.

It almost disappeared. In the 1960s few played it openly. The Zuaznabar brothers of Lasarte, then known as the last txalaparta players (as the Goikoetxea brothers), had to keep their instrument hidden away for fear of arrest by the Spanish Civil Guard; it was considered an overt sign of Basque identity, forbidden during the dictatorship.

Since then the txalaparta has undergone a renaissance, in part through the efforts of Oreka TX.


Harkaitz Mtnez. de San Vicente (San Sebastian - Donostia, 1975) and Igor Otxoa (San Sebastian - Donostia, 1973) have played the txalaparta as a pair since 1997, the year in which Oreka Tx was born. That same year, they also joined a band led by the noted basque composer, musician, and master of the trikitixa (diatonic accordion) Kepa Junkera, a collaboration that garnered them a Latin Grammy®. They have shared the stage and/or recorded with a host of international stars, such as, Altan, Taraf de Haidouks, Pat Metheny, Alasdair Fraisier, Hendingarna, Dulce Pontes, Phil Cunningham, Oskorri, Hevia , María del Mar Bonet, Carlos Núñez, …

Oreka Tx's first album, Quercus Endorphina, was produced by Kepa Junkera and released by Elkarlanean in 2001. Tracks from this album were featured in the show “Txalaparta” by the famous Spanish dancer and choreographer Nacho Duato, represented by the National Company of Dancing at the most important auditoriums and theatres all over the world.

In that year they formed their band (Oreka TX Band) and started to give concerts with it. They have also used festivals around Europe, America, Africa and Japan as a launchpad to gain awareness for the Txalaparta.before embarking on 2004 in the project Nömadak Tx:

Oreka Tx had a dream: they thought up a project that was to mark a turning point in the history of this unique musical percussion instrument. A project based on their understanding that the Txalaparta is a point of encounter, a means of communicating with others. Since 2004 they have travelled the world, using the Txalaparta as their vehicle and home, meeting musicians and discovering the reality of far away peoples, from Mongolia to Sahara, from Lapland to India. During their travels, they compiled visual and sound material, with a clear goal in mind: to share this music, these sounds, these images, and these experiences. Their dream has become a reality and the result was an astounding documentary called Nömadak Tx which won multiple awards at international film festivals and is coming soon to theaters worldwide (the film was screened at WOMEX Film Programme 2007 at the section World Music Films on Tour), a CD distributed worldwide by Harmonia Mundi, a DVD and the new show they propose to WOMEX: “Nömadak TX Live”:

Oreka TX, accompanied by musicians gathered together for the occasion, invites us to go on an unusual concert - journey, in a combination of music and on-stage images.

Played live, the richness of the sound and the variety of instruments provides the Txalaparta with an unusual yet welcoming environment, an environment in which the Txalaparta can evolve towards new horizons.

The musicians play music created during their travels to India, Lapland, the Sahara and Mongolia, alongside other musicians who appear on a large screen. This screen, set at the back of the stage, becomes a huge window, to view and discover different places and different peoples.

Experimentation and fusion are the tool of this new concept for multimedia concerts whilst cultural interaction is its goal.


Aziza is a Saharawi from Western Sahara, born in a refugee camp in Algeria. At the age of 11 Aziza received a schoolarship to study in Cuba where she spent seven years, before abandoning her studies in order to dedicate herself to music. She won the first prize in a national song competition in a cultural festival of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic - the self-proclaimed Saharawi state. Aziza did her first recordings for the Saharawi National Radio in the refugee camps and from there came her first tour outside the camps in Mauritania and Algeria as part of the National Saharaw


Martxa baten lehen notak (english translation)

Written By: J.A. Artze

The sun on high melts
the snow from the summits
towards the valleys there descends
an unstoppable force.

Within us is the sun.
The darkness and the ice
can be broken by the light
and melted by the heart.

Each of us opening a path
so together we mark ours.
We are widening
the path of man.

While someone is hungry,
we shall not have sufficient,
while someone is oppressed
we shall not be free.

No-one, nowhere under the yoke
each a master unto himself
United all people
we shall have our future.

in a place they call
the cemetery of stone”.
These stones have
never been so alive.

music mikel laboa | lyrics j.a. artze


“QUERCUS ENDORPHINA” (Elkarlanean, 2001)
Produced by Kepa Junkera.


Oreka Tx (Harkaitz Mtez. De San Vicente & Igor Otxoa)
Glen Velez (USA).
Michel Bordeleau (La Bottine Souriante, Quebec).
Mikel Laboa (Basque Country)
Phil Cunningham (Scotland)
Justin Vali (Madagascar)
Kepa Junkera (Basque Country)

“NÖMADAK TX” (World Village, 2009).
Distributed by Harmonia Mundi.
Produced by Harkaitz Mtez. De San Vicente.


Basque Country:
Oreka Tx (Harkaitz Mtez. De San Vicente & Igor Otxoa), Angel Unzu, Iñigo Egia, Ion Garmendia, Xabi Zeberio, Javi Alzola, Julio Andrade, Pello Ramirez, Iñigo Agirre, Mikel Laboa.

Palani Velu, Jayan Nair, Manikandan Nair, Kutal Khan, Bu, Gobbi.

Saapmi (Lappland):
Terje Isungset “Ice Man”, Yana Mangi, Ante Mikkel.

Amazigh People (Berebers):
Groupe Zaid, Abdelhak Akandouch, Ouafaa Aouattah, Foud Elttabi, Asma Aouattah.

Saharawi People: Tiris Band.

Chimbad, A. Udarma, Ganbold Muukhai, Ganzorig Nergui, J. Munkhbat, Ailanys Band (Khakasia), Alexander Samozhikov, Oleg Chebodaev, Yelea Chezhinova, Alla Burnakova.