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Photo: Iñaki LL

One of my Facebook friends shared an entertaining page on “rare and strange instruments” (you have to see it to believe it), leading me to seek more information on an instrument called the txalaparta. It may not be as unusual as the piano that makes cats meow but is nevertheless worthy of investigation.

According to Wikipedia, the txalaparta is “a specialized Basque music device of wood or stone. In some regions of the Basque Country, zalaparta (with [s]) means ‘racket,’ while in others (in Navarre) txalaparta has been attested as meaning the trot of the horse, a sense closely related to the sound of the instrument. …

“During the last 150 years, txalaparta has been attested as a communication device used for funeral (hileta), celebration (jai) or the making of slaked lime (kare), or cider (sagardo). After the making of cider, the same board that pressed the apples was beaten to summon the neighbours. Then, a celebration was held and txalaparta played cheerfully, while cider was drunk. …

“Traditional txalaparta was almost extinct in the 1950s with a handful of pairs of peasants maintaining the tradition. It was then revived by folklorists, such as Jesus and Jose Antonio Artze from the group Ez dok amairu.” Now you can hear it on YouTube, below.

More at Wikipedia.

Video: The Give and Take of Wood and Stone. Oreka Tx Brings Once Threatened Basque Sounds and New Global Resonances to the U.S. in September 2010 and on Nömadak Tx.

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