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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Rhythms of Struggle. Recovery, Revival and Re-Creation of Txalaparta in the Basque Country
Degree Type: PhD
Degree Specialism: Ethnomusicology
Supervisor(s): Prof. Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin; Dr Colin Quigley
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: 2012
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: University of Limerick
Persons / Composers: Several Basque composers
Genres / Musical Instruments: Txalaparta (Basque musical tradition and instrument)
Related Places: The Basque Country (French and Spanish States)
Time Frame: 1998-2006
Key Issues / Concepts: Identity, Revival, Conflict, Politics, Music, Basque Country
Abstract: This dissertation, the first extensive academic work on Txalaparta as a social phenomenon, explores the ongoing revival and construction of this tradition and percussion instrument amid the Basque struggle for self-determination. Based on ethnographic work mainly undertaken from 1998 to 2006 in the capital of the Spanish State, the Basque Country, and Ireland, this thesis examines current constructions of meaning and “reality,” from a broad spectrum approach to the study of performance as well as praxis perspectives within the field of ritual studies. Anarchistic reflections of freedom and general Marxist aspirations, memories of past sovereignty and current dreams of independence, emerge in the commitment of many of those who have engaged, and engage today, with Txalaparta, shaping narratives and practices, and giving way, in particular, to an ongoing project: the making of “music” on a par with the making of nation.

In-depth interviews with different Basque artists, including relatives of the old Txalaparta players, Basque ex-prisoners, political rally organizers, and other left wing and independentist Txalaparta players within and outside the so called Basque Movement for National Liberation, as well as fieldwork with Txalaparta groups of different ideological leanings within the left, provide the multiple voices that inform the insight this dissertation intends to provide into processes of national construction and resistance amid conflict by means of expressive culture.

Thesis 2

Thesis Title: Txalaparta. It's Relation to Basque Identity
Degree Type: MA
Degree Specialism: Ethnomusicology
Supervisor(s): Dr. John Morgan O'Connell
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: Summer 1999
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: University of Limerick
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1
Thesis Location / Link: IWA of Music and Dance.
Persons / Composers: Several Basque composers
Genres / Musical Instruments: Txalaparta (Basque musical tradition and instrument)
Related Places: The Basque Country
Time Frame: 1 year
Key Issues / Concepts: Identity, Revival, Struggle, Music

The subject matter of this dissertation is the relationship between Basque identity and music. It is concerned with the use of the traditional Basque tradition and instrument Txalaparta in modern music making and its power of representation of Basque identity. A Basque identity which, related to the struggle of the Basque Country to be recognised as a nation independent from Spain, is stressed in the use of Basque language and the realm of music.

Txalaparta has been used as a symbol of the left wing secessionist Basque nationalism (to a greater extent than other Basque instruments), however this occurs in a way of music making that is different from the traditional one. Though the origins of Txalaparta seem to be rooted in ancient history, it can be stated that Txalaparta, as it is known and played today, originated in an oppressed Basque Country and, therefore, it is a “daughter” of certain social and political claims which make up a very sensitive ethnic awareness. It is in such an environment that the instrument is “reborn” into what we might call modernity: more and new elements are added to Txalaparta, new rhythms are performed, in a ceaseless search for new effects and broadening of its horizons, to make the tradition suitable to the new times. Hence, what Txalaparta represents (Basque identity legitimated by history, by a somehow primordial Basque practice) remains alive and worthwhile, and therefore the ethno-political claims which that tradition is set to validate.

Contact Details

Current Institution Affiliation: Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. University of Limerick
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