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Too Old, Too Small, Maybe - a poetry and music spectacle

Kirmen Uribe, Mikel Urdangarin, Bingen Mendizabal, Rafa Rueda.

This is the title under which the writer Kirmen Uribe and the musician Mikel Urdangarin travelled in the spring of 2003 to New York, where they gave six recitals in which they combined poetry and music. They took with them two other musicians: Bingen Mendizabal (an imaginative creator of sound tracks) on the violin and Rafa Rueda (a member of various rock groups) on the electric guitar.

The mini-tour was a resounding success, as is evident in the fact that it featured in a number of different American newspapers including The New Yorker and Open City, and the authors now want to bring it to the Basque Country. The show combines music and songs with fragments of modern literature, exploring the concerns of contemporary individuals. It also brings together four artists who work in very different cultural areas: poetry, song, filmmaking and alternative rock.

The title chosen by Kirmen for these recitals: ‘Demasiado viejo, demasiado pequeño quizá’ refers to a poem which talks about the Basque language and reflects the essence of the performance: ‘The Basque language, the Basque Country, is too old, too small perhaps, for modern times. But at the end of the day, Basques offer a specific way of looking at the world, a specific way of living and feeling’.

During the show, Kirmen recites poems from his latest book ‘Bitartean Heldu Eskutik’, along with other new pieces written either by him or by other Basque authors. These poems are interspersed with songs sung by Mikel Urdangarin, some of which were written specially for the occasion, while others form part of his normal repertoire. Accompanied by Bingen Mendizabal and Rafa Rueda, these two artists liven the show up with a series of colourful images, turning it into a multidisciplinary spectacle suitable for all ages and tastes.

The record-book is an elegant publication which includes 14 songs composed by Mikel Urdangarin and Bingen Mendizabal, which are sung by the two authors and the rock musician Rafa Rueda. In addition to 12 new compositions, the album also includes a version of Haitzetan and another of the popular song Atharratz Jauregian. The poetry and lyrics composed by Kirmen Uribe were written by him in three different languages. Each poem is illustrated with drawings by Mikel Valverde, who is also responsible for the general design of the book.