Becoming a bertsulari
At the beginning of the 1990’s, on the initiative of several teachers
from the ikastolas (Basque-medium schools) and the Association Bertsularien
Lagunak, the first classes in the art of versified improvisation were
given during school time.
Children from improvisation schools
next to the statue of the bertsulari
Mattin in Ahetze (XDZ)
Later on the association decided to employ a full-time teacher with
This commitment proved to be one of the most efficient: within just a few
months improvisation “schools” sprung up in Hendaye, Saint-Jean-de-Luz and
During the years that followed the movement gained momentum and classes
were also given at the ikastolas in Hasparren, Ustaritz, Cambo,
Saint-Just-Ibarre, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Chéraute.
Consequently there is a renewal of interest in the art of versified
improvisation which is developing across the Northern Basque Country.
Many children have become interested in improvisation. Amets Arzallus and
Sustrai Kolina, currently classed amongst the best, learnt in these schools.
Without a doubt, the next generation will include: Miren Artetxe,
Xumai Murua, Eneritz Zabaleta, Mizel Mateo, Patxi Iriart, Gillen Hiribarren,
Aimar Karrika and Odei Barroso.
This irrefutably proves that the teaching of improvisation has begun to
bear its fruit!