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One of the most characteristic expressions of Basque culture is undoubtedly the impromptu or improvised singing of verses - bertsularism.

Maialen Lujanbio the first woman to win the Basque Country improvisation championship. 2009. (EKE - Maite Deliart)
The singer or bertsulari has to improvise verses in the Basque language, following a pre-determined melody, respecting rhyme and working to a set topic.

This tradition – on the point of disappearing in a number of places – is highly popular and well-regarded in the Basque Country, particularly so in specific situations such as rest house, cider-houses and generally places where locals meet.

Amongst Basques, the fame of the great bertsolaris is without match. Some bertsolari names are remembered even after they have long gone. At the beginning of the XX century bertsolarism championships began to be organised and, at the end of the same century, bertsolari schools were set up. The new generation of young bertsolaris has raised this art form to heretofore unimaginable levels of quality and with great success.

The art of sung improvise verse in the ''Batekmila - Basque worlds'' exhibition of Basque Culture Institute :

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Directory of Basque versified improvisers


Improvisers,  improvisation contest leaders, judges, contest organisers, improvisation competitions and championships, courses and improvisation resources, in the directory of The Basque Cultural Institute.