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Going beyond a mere collection of songs, Harresilanda is more like a circular and never-ending series of tracks. Thirteen pieces of a broken mirror reflect an infinite number of gazes. With simplicity and intensity, each song not only encompasses a complete emotion, but also adds it own flavour to the overall picture. The lyrics provide the necessary clues to exploring the heart of his album that resembles a labyrinth right down to the very last detail. Those intrepid collectors of winks and well-aimed words will be rewarded with the opportunity of clearly contemplating the underlying pillar: the initial abstract picture, now a fierce self-portrait. Following Planes de fuga (2001), Deriva (Donostia 1999) is a new, exceptional and long-lasting work.

Too human; too impure...

The first time I listened to Harresilanda, I must confess I was very impressed. It was during a party in Iñaki de Lucas’ recording studio, where the red wine was plentiful and the recently mastered songs resounded around the room at full volume.
Despite its infinite sadness, everyone seemed euphoric. I remember that I had the urge to escape and postpone listening to the tracks, due to this nervous disorder which results from having to face up to works that are just too human, too impure. Now, Rafa Berrio has asked me to write the promotional sheet for the album and indeed, I will have no trouble doing so, because I must have listened to the tracks at least fifty times now and, without a doubt, have managed to unlock the secret of the music. Because, however sceptically its author may look at me, I will continue to affirm that the album has a secret. Before me, the musicians who played during the sessions noticed it, as did the journalist Jordi Rue, the author of the short note included in the pdf file of the CD. Rafa denies it and says that the composer’s opinion is always the most superficial ... but he does not fool me. There is a common thread that winds its way through each and every one of the songs. It is obviously a story of mad love, of crazy lovers who hate what they love and love that which makes them feel so miserable. Something, in short, very common. And all this set against the backdrop of the City. The streets that oppress, but at the same time watch as we walk by, excited and drunk; the drabness that is also the representation of our undeniable urge to live. There are two characters and a narrator, because I have noticed that almost all the tracks are written in the second person and that the author has purposefully and maliciously tied this common thread in a knot, and leaves its unravelling to the intelligence of the listener.
Let me do it for you: La piel a tiras, Melancolía, Algo delicado y difícil, and even Harresilanda, are songs that talk about ‘other women’. Those that are not by your side. The romance that happens ‘somewhere else / where you are not’. Perhaps they talk about illicit relations that have nothing to do with the woman you love... something reminiscent of a hostess bar can be glimpsed, particularly in the first track, if I am not mistaken.
Moving on: in Bronca; Yo te sufro; Duele; Realidad and the cyclic Lo que trae el río, the drama itself unfolds. It is impossible for love to develop outside this schizophrenic relationship of attraction and rejection. And note that in Bronca, ‘she’ speaks directly for the first time! The pieces of the broken mirror start coming together. ... Finally, Corazón al revés, No sólo de amor and maybe even Invisible, deal with the urban landscape and the places of incessant dissatisfaction and foolish and crazy rejoicing. In other words, The City, that which ‘no one survives’. (En sueños deserves a special mention, since, in my opinion, it is a beautiful invocation of life after death.) Once you understand this, it is easy to see why Rafa chose that particular title (‘It is just a nice word’ lies Berrio with angelic innocence). The natural continuation of his previous album, Planes de fuga (Escape plans) is this ironic Harresilanda, which translates as outside the walls, thereby lending force to the idea of this ‘enclosure’ surrounding all relations between men and women, and between the ‘non-residents of ignorance’ and the besieged city mentioned in the track after which the album is named and which is magnificently illustrated on the cover and the three page insert designed by Cheli Lanzagorta.
I would just like to add in relation to these illustrations, that I believe I have discovered their source (!). They are very possibly inspired by the track Amor a Traición, which I can quote from memory:

My soul is a labyrinth
with a raging dragon in the centre.
My heart is no longer the same:
What silence and what calmness inside!

Have I revealed too much? Not at all. Even on the fifty-first hearing I have the feeling I will discover something new, since the album contains layer upon layer of complex meaning, like a Russian doll. (My next task is to count the exact number of times the word ‘Ellas’ appears in the lyrics). We will keep in touch over his website: Koan Amiama. Zumarraga, February 2005.