Jon Sarasua, professor and author.
It could be said that Jon Sarasua is the only ‘in-house’ artist participating in the Humanity at Music project. Even though the others are close, none of them have lived the cooperatives from the inside out like Sarasua has. Since his earliest years, he’s nourished himself from the cooperatives at home, he’s analyzed them in LANKI, and he has tried to communicate the values of the cooperative movement in many projects. Now he has written the lyrics to the soundtrack of the Experience.
For you, what is the Humanity at Music Project?
It seems like a really appropriate idea — I was very happy when I heard about it. The area of art, among others, has been a weak point among the cooperatives, and this project is novel in that respect. There have been some small initiatives, not really corporate in scope, but this is the first time such a large-scale project has been undertaken. The proposal his its risks and its limitations, but I think it’s coming together well. For me, it’s a pleasure to work with artists such as Fernando Velázquez, Josu Cámara and Jon Maya — it’s stimulating. And it will be wonderful to see participation in the project growing, seeing hundreds of people at rehearsals and on stage.
You wrote the lyrics to the compositions. What was your message?
In my work, I’ve always tried to develop my own point of view on the cooperatives, a fairly complex point of view, and not always a sympathetic one. My point of view comes from three angles: a positive one, a critical one, and a constructive one. In these lyrics, the positive and constructive ones predominate. At times, you need to leave certain things in the background. You need words to put in the mouths of large numbers of people, words they can identify with.
The chorus will be gigantic.
For the lyrics to be sung by such a large group, there are some characteristics it needs, like comprehensibility, simplicity, certain phonetic or sound characteristics… At the same time, we have to say something worth saying, with the lyrics, the music, the dance and the stage management. I’ve weaved the lyrics to create something everyone can sing, and also something that respects each individual’s point of view. It’s not an apology, it’s a celebration. Lots of things are said in the eight movements, but the idea we wanted to get across is that all this deserves to be sung — what these generations have built together, what the cooperatives are doing and will do, with all the uncertainties, contradictions and worries that the future brings.
There’s a desire to get people from across the cooperatives working together. What would you say to cooperative members to encourage them to participate in the project?
There won’t be many opportunities to do things like this, and since the idea has come up, let’s do it right. We’re rigid and brief in the area of celebrations, as in some other internal issues. This is a small occasion to show that the cooperative movement is patriotic. Not really to show outsiders, but to live it from the inside. The creation, the rehearsals, the staging… all this could turn into a very powerful experience and it will be a real pleasure to participate in. If we pull it off, it could be an event we remember for many years to come.
The book, a treasure to save and to give
As Maite Mutuberria, the project’s illustrator, says, the book is like a treasure, to be read unhurriedly, to be kept forever. It brings together the past, present and future of the Basque cooperative movement, but above all, it’s an inspiring work of art. A book that belongs in the home of anyone who has experienced the cooperative movement from the inside.