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Since it was formed in 1997, Arima Beltza has constantly vindicated its character as a blues & rock band. In September 2000, it brought out its first album, in collaboration with Gaztelupeko Hotsak. The album consisted of six songs recorded in an amateur studio, which were very well received by the public. Far from siting on their laurels, however, this band from Elgoibar have now brought out a second album.
‘Blues sustraia’ was recorded in August in Cantón de la Soledad Street in Gasteiz. Juanan Ros and the band’s old friend, H. Esnaola ‘Muxi’ were in charge of production and recording. The latter was also responsible for the arrangement, and is the author of the song ‘Nire alboan’. This album, which consists of ten songs, contains a bit of everything: blues, classic, rock, gentle tracks, fast tracks and powerful tracks – all revolving around the basic pillar of rock & blues, without adhering blindly to the dictates of this style.
The lyrics focus on a number of different issues, with no common theme linking them all together. As in their previous work, the bass player Iñigo Araujo and the drummer and vocalist Jon Gurrutxaga have made it their mission to liven up the melodies. The album also includes a final track with a television video of the group.
After bringing out ‘Blues sustraia’ the group members increased from five to six. With the aim of strengthening their live performances, Jon Gurrutxaga decided to leave the drumming to Elur Arrieta, so although he was the drummer in this album, in the future Jon will focus solely on providing the vocals.

When The King Bee listened to Arima Beltza’s recording for the first time, he felt moderate enthusiasm for the six songs written by this young band who sang blues rock in the language of Axular, a task which few have ever attempted. Later on, The King Bee had the opportunity of seeing them live in a cavern in Bilbao and realised immediately that the band merited a future in order to rid its soul of all the ‘blues’ that also afflict this country.
The honey of this impossible bee was sweeter after hearing ‘Blues sustraia’, the second recording by Arima Beltza, containing ten songs edited in the Soraluze blues house with all the care and attention aroused by good blues and boogie. The music that the young King Bee heard before sprouting wings, all the sounds of the Purple, Zep, After, Rory and southern rock, are a good source of inspiration in an intense evolution with the magnificent voice of Jon Gurrutxaga (our own Levon Helm), who sings better every day, and with extremely moving duels between the guitar and the harmonica.
The group is faithful to its more ‘boogie’ spirit in ‘Benetan’ and branches out fearlessly in a clone-like ‘Whole lotta love’ (they already give a wonderful live performance of ‘Rock?n?roll’ by Zeppelin), in which Gurrutxaga has the difficult task of reminding us of (or making us forget) Robert Plant. The more strident songs such as ‘Kaxa’, ‘Jainkoaren lorategia’ and ‘Keinua’ caused The King Bee to take flight in order to avoid the axe blows and the hypnotic beat of the best hard rock. Arima Beltza also conveys meaning through rhythm, offering slow blues tracks such as ‘Maita nazazu’, which has a number of touches that are reminiscent of ‘The Thrill is Gone’ by B. B. King, although the Elgoibar group’s version sees the heaven of desire when at last it opens. ‘Nire alboan’, on the other hand, popifies the blues. The secrets of the style are best found, however, in ‘Blues sustraia’, which tells an old story of cotton and suffering. The King Bee has also sampled the tiny acoustic track at the end of the CD. It is called ‘zazpi kolore’ and is almost a nationalist blues version which made the bumblebee very happy.
The King Bee