About Basque oral literature and bertsolaritza in Madrid

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2014-06-10

The roundtable “Literatura oral en el País Vasco" was held yesterday at the “Casa del Lector” of Matadero Madrid, with the participation of the film director Asier Altuna and the bertsolari, translator, professor and investigator of Basque culture Xabier Paya. Mari Jose Olaziregi, director for the Promotion and Dissemination of the Basque Language of the Etxepare Basque Institute was in charge of moderating the event.

Asier Altuna talked about the most important and influential oral expression of Basque culture: the bertsolaritza (improvised verse singing in Basque language). He told the audience about his own experience while filming his documentary "Bertsolari", which was screened after the roundtable. He related how the bertsolaris he worked with told him they felt as if they were at the edge when singing improvised verses; Altuna decided to represent this metaphore in a literal geopgraphical sense in the film.

Xabier Paya presented his bookAntologia Oral Vasca –Euskal ahozko literaturaren Antologia- Anthology of Basque oral literature” and talked about the long and rich history of the Basque oral literature. He did also talk about the bertsolaritza and he sang an improvised bertso in Basque language and then translated it into Spanish. He also related his own experience as a bertsolari and concluded the roundtable with the bertso that he sang when he won the final of Bizkaia Bertsolari Contest, that he dedicated to his mom, who does not speak Basque.

 

The roundtable “Literatura oral en el País Vasco" was held yesterday at the “Casa del Lector” of Matadero Madrid, with the participation of the film director Asier Altuna and the bertsolari, translator, professor and investigator of Basque culture Xabier Paya. Mari Jose Olaziregi, director for the Promotion and Dissemination of the Basque Language of the Etxepare Basque Institute was in charge of moderating the event.

Asier Altuna talked about the most important and influential oral expression of Basque culture: the bertsolaritza (improvised verse singing in Basque language). He told the audience about his own experience while filming his documentary "Bertsolari", which was screened after the roundtable. He related how the bertsolaris he worked with told him they felt as if they were at the edge when singing improvised verses; Altuna decided to represent this metaphore in a literal geopgraphical sense in the film.

Xabier Paya presented his bookAntologia Oral Vasca –Euskal ahozko literaturaren Antologia- Anthology of Basque oral literature” and talked about the long and rich history of the Basque oral literature. He did also talk about the bertsolaritza and he sang an improvised bertso in Basque language and then translated it into Spanish. He also related his own experience as a bertsolari and concluded the roundtable with the bertso that he sang when he won the final of Bizkaia Bertsolari Contest, that he dedicated to his mom, who does not speak Basque:

Bost izen bota nahi dodaz
merezi daben neurrira:
maisu handi Amuriza
eta Lopategi, biba!
Trino ta Joseba Santxo
epaile onenak dira,
bosgarrena ulertu barik
hor egongo da begira.
Tú no nos diste el euskera,
pero nos diste la vida,
nos llevaste a la ikastola,
aprendimos enseguida,
ya es hora de que entiendas
el canto que nos motiva.
Esta txapela es tuya,
ay, nire amatxu querida!

After the roundtable the Cineteca of Matadero Madrid screened the documentary “Bertsolari”, by Asier Altuna. The director attended the screening ans answered the questions posted by the audience, that was positively surprised by the relevance of the bertsolaritza in the Basque Country today.

Images:

Asier Altuna, Mari Jose Olaziregi and Xabier Paya at the roundtable; Asier Altuna at the colloquium after the emission of the documentary "Bertsolari".

 

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