Main content

Bertsolari

View on the Pragda STREAM site

Bertsolaritza is an ancestral, completely improvised, form of Basque poetry. Anachronistic? Not at all: the bertsolari, with their spontaneous creation and wordplay, could be an inspiration for rappers and other improv artists.

This oral tradition has skillfully evolved and adapted to the times, connecting with the youngest generations. A surprising art of austere aesthetics in these days of spectacularity and special effects. At the grand finale performance of the last championship an audience of 14,000 people gathered to watch 8 bertsolaris vie live against each other. Bertsolari is a voyage through improvised verse, silence and art in the raw.

The origin of the bertsolari verse dates back to earlier times and the documented challenges amongst bertsolaris are very old. The first championships as we know them today, bringing together the very best bertsolaris of the time, were organized in San Sebastian in 1935 and 1936.

A living ethnographic documentary, remarkable and educational.

Related Films

The Deer

Khalil is a rootless young man who lives in the city’s margins, spending…

Great Performances - Albéniz: Portraits of Spain

Scott Yoo travels with guitarist Manuel Barrueco and pianist Juan Perez…

Ornament of the World

An exploration of medieval Spain when Muslims, Christians, and Jews forged…