Coming together in Lekunberri (Navarre) in 1994, Berri Txarrak is a power trio that bases its music on true rock, only to embrace different styles to achieve an organic and eclectic sound that is both unique and recognisable. Masters of an innate ability in terms of melody, their songs feature well-thought-out lyrics (in Basque) by their frontman Gorka Urbizu. The band has managed to leave its mark on nine studio albums and more than a thousand concerts around the world – albums and live shows that have led them to achieve recognition from both audiences and critics, who have highlighted a constant evolution without the band members giving up their roots, as well as their tireless search for emotion which is intimately linked to undeniable attitude and dedication.
Berri Txarrak is the first group to win the prestigious Adarra Saria Award for their contribution to Basque culture, thus joining a list of exemplary artists of the stature of Mikel Laboa and Anari.
The band was the brainchild of Gorka Urbizu (voice and guitar) and Aitor Goikoetxea (drums), who –despite still being minors at the time– had been on stage for several years with another group. The pair recruited Mikel Lopez “Rubio” (bass) and Aitor Oreja (guitar) to complete the initial group, which recorded a demo and four studio albums. After Aitor Oreja’s leaving the group in 2004, Berri Txarrak was to forever become a trio. In 2008, David González (formerly part of ∏LT) took Rubio’s place and, two years later, it was Galder Izagirre (formerly playing with Dut and Kuraia) who substituted Goikoetxea on the drums after his departure from the project.
A key group to understand the evolution of rock in Basque throughout this century, Berri Txarrak (which means “Bad News”), has worked with renowned world-class producers such as Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, etc.), Ross Robinson (The Cure, Korn, etc.), and Bill Stevenson (Black Flag, Descendents, Lemonheads, etc.), among others. Among the collaborators of their albums we can find people like Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) and Matt Sharp (Weezer, The Rentals).
BTX has played on five continents, including tours of Europe, South America, and Oceania alongside Rise Against, as well as concerts opening for the Deftones, Descendents, and Sick Of It All. Likewise, they have done performances in major leading festivals like Hellfest (France), Fuji Rock (Japan), South By Southwest (USA), Canadian Music Fest (Canada),Resurrection, Primavera Sound, Sonorama Ribera, Viña Rock, DCode, Download, Cruïlla, EHZ, Azkena Rock Festival, Bilbao BBK Live, etc. Additionally, they have done several of their own tours in the UK, USA, South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
They are also the first Basque-speaking band to perform in the former Palacio de los Deportes (Sports Palace) in Madrid (WiZink Centre, where they brought together more than 7,000 people), proof of their transversality and power to unite, as was already demonstrated in their last tour which got together more than 20,000 people in Kobetamendi (Bilbao) and by their selling all the tickets within 24 hours for two packed events in the Navarre Arena (Pamplona), being the only band to perform two concerts in a row in that great venue to date.
These are milestones that have led several analysts to point out the fact that BTX has managed to transcend the stylistic, linguistic, and generational barriers. Along with these achievements (which are clearly remarkable for a band that always sang in a minority language and that, unfortunately, has fallen victim to censorship like other artists), throughout their career BTX alternated concerts before large audiences and long international tours at a much more underground level, always maintaining the same attitude of working hard and giving it their all on stage, even when in front of audiences made up of only one listener, as happened to them in their famous concert in Nantes (France). As one of their songs says well, “passion is the minimum requirement,” especially if you decide to dedicate your life to rock.
Their discography includes seminal albums like the acclaimed Jaio.Musika.Hil (known leitmotif of the band, translated as Be Born.Music.Die, and their first album as a trio), the cult album Payola –a true exercise in rawness recorded analogically by Steve Albini–, the powerful Libre © (best album of 2003 according to Rock Sound), and the polyhedral triple creation Denbora da poligrafo bakarra (Time is the Only Polygraph). All of these albums took the lists of “best albums of the year” by storm in several specialised music publications such as Mondosonoro, Rockzone, Gruta 77, and Entzun, where the energy of their live performances was also noted. Thus, during their long career they have been deserving of countless awards like the International Music Awards (IMA), Iberian Festival Awards, MIN Independent Music Awards, Gaztea Sariak, Etxepare Award, etc. There is even today a Berri Txarrak Square in their honour in Lekunberri, the place where they were born, and it is reigned over by a spectacular mural done by Iker Uribe in 2020.
Berri Txarrak got its start with the independent label from Pamplona GOR, managing to attract the attention of the prestigious Roadrunner Records, and ending up on the self-publishing bandwagon through the creation of their own label called Only In Dreams in 2008.
After 25 intense years on the road, in 2019 they did their last tour baptised as Ikusi Arte Tour, after which they began an indefinite break.
–Berri Txarrak (untitled) (GOR; Only In Dreams, 1997)
–Ikasten (GOR; Only In Dreams, 1999)
–Eskuak/Ukabilak (GOR; Only In Dreams, 2001)
–Libre © (GOR; Only In Dreams, 2003)
–Jaio.Musika.Hil (GOR; Only In Dreams, 2005)
–Payola (Roadrunner Records; Kaiowas; Only In Dreams, 2009)
–Haria (Graviton; Only In Dreams, 2011)
–Denbora da poligrafo bakarra (Only In Dreams, 2014)
–Infrasoinuak (Only In Dreams, 2017)
*Zertarako amestu (Jaio.Musika.Hil egunak) (DVD, Documentary directed by Ibon Antuñano – GOR; Only In Dreams, 2007)
*Denak ez du balio (Singles 1997-2007) (Compilation CD-DVD – GOR; Only In Dreams, 2010)
*Iragana aurretik (DVD, documentary on the 20th anniversary – Badok/Berria; Only In Dreams, 2014)
*Bakarrik egoteko modu berri bat (EP 10” – Record Store Day; Only In Dreams, 2016)*Berba eta irudia (book of photographs from the last tour by Ibai Arrieta and Eider Iturriaga, with texts by Harkaitz Cano – Only In Dreams, 2019).