the back cover:
people and bertsoak (improvised verse-singing) go
hand-in-hand, and wherever the Basques emigrated they took
along all the elements of the tradition: the bard and his
audience, improvised and written poetry, and even the tunes
learned in their hometowns.
plant has stayed small and scrawny in some American
places because of the climate or the lack of soil.
However, at other times it grew and gave wonderful
now in the Americas, Argentina has been the champion of bertso
Let us mention just one name, Pedro Mari Otaño, who
verse-singing enthusiasts still remember.
The art is more recent in the U.S., but right now it is
the strongest and most promising.
While those in Argentina invited only one bertsolari
(improvising singer), Pello Errota, U.S. Basques have played
hosts to Xalbador, Mattin, Azpillaga, Lopategi, Euzkitze, Peñagarikano,
Egaña, and others.
We, Basques have been rather
negligent concerning our own culture, and we thus began late
collecting bertsoak. That happened in the Basque Country and
abroad even more so. But
with this superb compilation, it appears that things are
turning around. A
poet once said that as you travel you build the road, and
author Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe intends to carry on with the
project he started. May
he nurture the bertso tree of the United States so that it may
turn into reality what Iparragirre said about the Oak Tree of
Gernika: “Give forth and spread your fruit in the world.”
Publisher and Editor, Auspoa Bertso Poetry Books
Nafarroa, October 14, 2002