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The majority of the songs on Mestijaia are short stories, photographs, messages of love slipped under the door, without too much hope of ever obtaining a reply. These messages carry us down south, bringing with them breezes from other seas without forgetting that they are made-in-the-Basque-Country, recorded in Hernialde and sung sometimes in the Basque language.

The playful ‘Berriro ohera’ starts the collection off at an intrepid rhythm, and its theme is repeated throughout the rest of the album in a number of different guises: love, lack of love, nocturnal meetings, etc. The next three tracks ‘Berandu’, ‘8mm.’ and ‘Horregatik’ are like waves that play with deep emotions and the free singing of the piano tries to evoke in us the spirit about which the songs talk. These are songs for those able to dance without wincing – with their heads held high.

The pasodoble entitled ‘Legorreta’ leads us on to the rumba called ‘Lekeitio’, one of the best surprises the album has in store for us. And from here onwards, the listener will look at this bunch of 15 flowers called ‘Mestijaia’ with new eyes: as a journey from inside to out, and from outside to in. Ojos de avellana’ goes as deep as possible, so much so, in fact, that you need to hang on to the vibrant guitar in order to soften the sense of suffering that pierces your heart.

The next two tracks, ‘Zoramena’ and ‘Gerria mugitzen’, are songs sung with your shirt slung over your shoulder, in half empty rooms, with the piano in the background and the rhythm of the maracas accompanying the droning of the air conditioning. The catchy chorus and disdain of ‘Muere la noche’ and ‘Fuego’ reflect the purer side of Mal de Ojo, with their chests puffed out and every mole in place. ‘En recuerdo de tu amor’ is the last lovelorn story, told to the sound of a sweet rumba. And to finish, the mixed ending gives it name to the album ‘Mestijaia’. In this case, it is a mix of bertsolaris (traditional Basque poet-singers) and rumba singers. We know that oaks can never be palm trees, but that is why this mix is so interesting – a new friendship has been formed and Mestijaia is only one example of it.

After a whole decade of digging down into its musical roots, MDO still holds it head high and shows us its strength in ‘Mestijaia’, effortlessly merging mixes and joie de vivre. And we should not forget that Mal de Ojo is now an old hand, which has forged its niche by shear hard work in contact with the public, in town squares and clubs, and it is there that it feels most at home, and where it intends to stay while blood still flows through its veins.