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Niko Etxart is a Basque singer-songwriter and musician born in 1953 in Altzürükümarker, Soule (Southwest of Francemarker). He's widely reputed in the Basque area for being a forerunner of Basque rock and bridging the gap between Basque old tradition and modern music trends.

Music

After living in Paris since his early childhood, moved out in 1974 to the rural land of his parents in Soule with brand new ideas about music, taking up rock and roll and singing in Basque. He put together the band Minxoriak in 1976 without giving up his solo career as a musician, so besides working with the band till the mid-80s, Etxart staged performances on his own as well as releasing various albums. Some of his songs have attained considerable popularity both in the Spanish and French Basque Country.

In the late 90s and the noughties, he has taken up composing traditional pastoral, as well as staging tratidional vocal songs along with his father Dominika and Robert Larrandaburu. When performing with instrumental background, he's supported by the band Hapa-Hapa (Zuberoan Basque for 'panting').

Significance

In a time when the Spanish Basque Country still remained under the yoke of Franco's dictatorship, with Basque language and culture quickly losing ground to French, and Basque society struggling between modernity and loyalty to conservative old traditions, not only did Etxart switch to new contents but more controversialy he brought along new forms: electric guitar, jeans, long hair, secularity, etc., which didn't go down well with Basque conservative circles and political and cultural activists.

The musician stood his rocker outlook, even releasing a hit, "Euskal Rock'n Roll", that made it to the 17th position in the Spanish charts (Los 40 Principales). However, thereafter he has evolved into gentler tunes, while sticking to rocky manners and look.


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