What is a bertso?  |  History of Bertsolaritza  |  History of Championships Transmission of Bertsolaritza  |  Bertsozale Elkartea  |  XDZ

The Transmission of Bertsolaritza

In the times that run, the transmission of the oral culture is about to exctinguish; consequently, we cannot guarantee that bertsolaritza will have a place assured in the future, moreover in the case of a minority language as the Basque. The survival of the cultural expression of people is based on the link between generations, on the union that creates new waves of friends, performers, workers and experts in the topic... and provided that we speak about such a fundamental labor, the Association of Friends of Bertsolaritza from the Basque Country has focused its strategic axes in the transmission of this art. Nevertheless, we cannot forget the contribution that the bertsolaritza has made in favor of the linguistic normalization and the renovation of the Basque popular culture.

1. Main objectives
2. Main work strategies

Main objectives


  • Reinforce the movement of the bertso-eskolas (schools of bertsolaris): in order to guarantee the the transmission of bertsolaritza, as well as its coordination, promoting the interchange of ideas, the constant reflection and the creation of means and resources.
  • Regulated education: in order to guarantee the basic transmission of bertsolaritza and to offer to schools methodologic means, useful for diverse fields.
  • To foment bertsolaritza in children and young people’s leisure: in order to propose bertsolaritza as a contact for diversion and free time.


Main work strategies




Short history

Until the end of XXth century, the transmission of bertsolaritza and
the oral culture in general, has been done in a normal way, generation by generation. People thought that it had to be born bertsolari, that the performer must have innate qualities. Nevertheless, in the Eighties, Juanito Dorronsoro and Xabier Amuriza published "Bertsotan I", "Bertsotan II" and "Zu ere bertsolari", respectively, pioneer didactic methods to learn the art of bertsolaritza. It was then that the first bertso-eskolas began to consolidate. It was an independent movement that was happening at the same time in different places from all territory of the Basque Country. Proof of it, there still remain bertso-eskolas like those of Muxika, Almen, Santutxu, Hernani, Algorta, Zumaia, Vitoria... Bertsolaritza left the rural world and came to the urban one; nowadays, bertsolaritza gathers bertsolaris and friends of bertsolaritza from everywhere, although the immense majority of performers comes from the bertso-eskolas.

General information


General details 2010
Country Bertso-eskolak Students Sex Age Level
Women Men 8-11 years 12-14 years 15-17 years Adults Beginners Middle Improvised Performance
  15 209 93 116 77 53 26 35 116 39 54 -
Araba 5 51 17 34 - 10 20 21 10 27 14 -
Bizkaia 6 80 23 57 10 8 21 41 12 30 26 -
Gipuzkoa 18 208 94 114 64 80 21 43 68 89 51 -
Lapurdi 4 47 28 19 14 20 13 - 11 - 16 6
Nafarroa Beherea 1 9 1 8 3 6 - - 3 - 6 -
Nafarroa 11 125 63 62 42 67 - 13 56 20 49 -
Zuberoa 2 11 - 11 - - - 5 6 - 5  

Meetings for bertso-eskolas

EIn 1998, the Association of Friends of bertsolaritza of the Basque Country decided to initiate the recompilation of information and material between the bertso-eskolas, with the intention of promote the interchange of information between them. This carried the first meeting for bertso-eskolas in Durango; later, in 1999 a second one was organised in Mondragón, where the projects facing the future were firstly studied, as well as the structure and organization of the bertso-eskolas.
The 2000 became the year of reflection. The Transmission department analysed the trajectory of the bertso-eskolas in the last twenty years, taking as basis all the data gathered on the seven territories, after long surveys. The 27 of October of 2001, 35 teachers and organisers met in Orio; it did not cost to them so much to realise that a general plan for bertso-eskolas was necessary: the curriculum for bertso-eskolas, its organization, formation of the teaching staff, material...
In 2002 the guide of work for the bertso-eskolas ("bertso-eskoletarako LAN-GIDA") appeared; it's the set of different activities, contents and objectives that would have to be settled down in a bertso-eskola. Since then, the work of transmission has been centered in the creation of material and resources, working on programs and their application.



  • Network of contact between bertso-eskolas: Relations, exchanges, initiatives ... between bertso-eskolas.
  • Reflection and formation of the professorship: Training and preparation as teachers of not regulated education, as well as the constant reflection on the path and future of the bertso-eskolas.
  • Recompilation of information of the bertso-eskolas: Annual update of the database.
  • Work tools: Create and give to the teachers new ressources.


Regulated Education


Curriculum of Elementary education

In agreement with the plan of formation of the professorship of the Association, in 2002 EHBE and HUHEZI (Mondragón's University) agreed to realize a formative program for the Linguistic Management, which aims to create the first curricula for bertsolaritza. Finally, the two-year effort of the Association of friends of Bertsolaritza has given its fruits: The curriculum of elementary education. It has four principal axes:
1.- Cultural patrimony
2.- Personal and social capacities
3.- Language
4.- Music

Ni ere bertsolari

it is a didactic offer that the EHBE gives to all the schools of the Basque Country. Destined to the primary education students and taking as a base the four points of the curriculum, it's a playful methodology and an general approach. This one is segmented in didactic sequences and complemented by diverse activities (bilbertsos, performances, parties...). In this moment it is developping at 131 schools.

ARABA 5 19 38 600
GIPUZKOA 3 13 39 790
BIZKAIA 7 71 100 2.500
LAPURDI 8 9 26 350
BAJA NAVARRA 2 3 9 120
ZUBEROA 1 1 3 18
NAVARRA 6 15 39 640
TOTAL 32 131 254 5.018

Orality in education

Being this one its main objective, the Association of Friends of bertsolaris decided to initiate an investigation in 1997. The professors Joserra Garzia and Lontxo Oihartzabal from the UPV-EHU and the bertsolari Andoni Egaña carried out arduous researches accompanied by many other collaborations. They looked for a method that was based on the development of communicative functions, a method centered so much in the oral language as in the written. As a result, a didactic proposal for Secondary Education was born. The work to do in the classroom starts off to think on the communicative effect that obtains a certain improvised bertso or any other type of text. The proposed method induces the students to express the intention or the circumstances that originate this effect, so afterwards they will try to use the same poetic, rhetorical, linguistic figures on the piece. After two experimentation years in four schools, the method is ready for the final closing, so that, as expected, it should be published in 2005.

For more information:

Euskal Herriko Bertsozale Elkartea
Transmisio saila
Tel: (+34) 943 694 129
e-posta: transmisioa[at]bertsozale.eus


Complementary activities


Bertsolaritza can turn out to be a surprising game in order to mix basque language, amusement and leisure. It was one of the principal motives to create the first summer camps concerning bertsolaritza in the nineties, in the Continental Basque Country. Today there are a several complementary activities that are carried out during the school year or vacation. These activities are the meeting of young people who enjoy the active bertsolaritza, and are the best support to the daily work, besides inducement for the own motivation.


So much together or separately, Euskal Herria's territories realise periodic meetings with the intention of establishing contact between the youngest members of the bertso-eskolas. Weekend meetings are realised anually in Gipuzkoa, Biscay, Araba, Navarre and Iparralde.

Summer stays for young bertsolaris

It is a consecration of summer, leisure and bertsolaritza. 200 curious minds from 8 to 18 years are in the habit of taking part year by year in activities like: swimming pools, performances of bertsos, excursions, games, short performances, theatres, parties... nothing is absent in the above mentioned stays, and of course, there is always the opportunity to have a good time with bertsos.