Students of the William A. Douglass Chair in Basque Cultural Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will have the opportunity to learn about one of the most significant expressions of Basque culture, Bertsolaritza (improvised sung verse) from bertsolaris Maialen Lujanbio and Miren Artetxe.
Part spoken word, part hip-hop freestyling, part a cappella singing and 100 percent improvisational, the tradition of Basque poetry known as bertsolaritza [bare-so-lar-eet-sa] has become a symbol for the renaissance of Basque language and popular culture. Two poets, Maialen Lujanbio, the first and only woman to win the national poetry competition, and Miren Artetxe, scholar and poet, will be visiting Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst presenting two lectures in English and performing short demonstrations of the artistry of bertsolaritza.
Lujanbio and Artetxe will talk about the craft of improvisation, how the art form has changed, and the experience of being women poets in a largely male art form. Join them for some artful singing and fascinating insights into how poetry is attracting young people of the Pyrenees to take an interest in learning this minority language, and how popular poetry operates as a medium for social commentary and changing social values.