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Karidadeko Benta was an old inn located at a crossroads, in which the region’s best known bertsolaris (improvisers of sung oral literature) used to meet to drink and carouse. The revellers included some of the greatest figures of the time, who later went down in the annals of history. Oh to have been at that inn, even for only one night, among songs and barrels of cider!!

This is where the group Karidadeko Benta gets it name, in an attempt to evoke that atmosphere of music and festivities. As in the old inn, this group is also located at a crossroads. Karidadeko Benta combined some of the oldest known melodies and verses with music from other cultures and a wide range of genres. The union between ancient tradition and the incorporation new sounds is a match made in heaven.

With instrumentation in the style of an orchestra from a multicultural neighbourhood, which contains everything but the kitchen sink, the group transmits the liveliness and freshness that characterises nomadic peoples. The songs evoke feline scenes or submerge us in Balkan, flamenco or oriental atmospheres, without ever leaving the Basque Country.

In Karidadeko Benta the arts also merge, since its members include the painter Aran Santa Maria; the actor Iñazio Tolosa; the plastic artist and cartoonist Mancis; Ima Manterola, who works with metals and Jon Maia, a bertsolari famous throughout the Basque Country who has also collaborated as a lyric-writer on more than 70 occasions for groups such as Negu Gorriak, Gozategi, Anari, Mikel Urdangarin, S.A. or Def Con Dos. In this new project, Jon writes for his own group, and also provides the vocals for his compositions.

Another characteristic of this proposal is the live improvisations. The communication channel generated with the audience during the concerts is so direct that it would be impossible to maintain if it were not for the improvisational skills of the great troubadour Jon Maia, who engages with the public face to face, looking at one person, singing to another, etc., inspired by the present, by the here and now. This gives each concert a freshness and authenticity that makes each one an unrepeatable experience.

The songs may seem new while at the same time somewhat familiar, and you may feel something new, but again, it will not be totally strange. And sooner or later you will find something of your own in Karidadeko Benta, since there is always something for everyone.

To give some idea of the range of colours to be found in this debut album, we could highlight a number of figures or elements such as: Txirrita (one of the best improvisers of the last century), the flamenco singer Remedios Amaya, Jose Azarola (a pianist from Zumaia who triumphed on Broadway), popular sounds from Morocco, Iran and the Caribbean and folk songs from Newfoundland from over three centuries ago.

Is it possible to merge all this together naturally in one album? Listen and you’ll see. Old airs and new, and the stories they tell. Perhaps you won’t want to return home, and you’ll stay on at the inn, or maybe even the inn will stay in you.