Last Sunday 15,000 people filled the Barakaldo Exhibition Centre near Bilbao for the four-yearly Basque language Improvisers Final and dozens of thousands followed the show on TV, radio and internet.
The seven-hour-long event ended with victory for the 33-year-old Maialen Lujanbio, the first woman ever to win the championship. Bertsolaritza or the practice of improvised singing is hugely popular in the Basque Country and it’s a great example of the old Basque traditions that have survived for centuries despite repression.
During this historical and highly emotional final some subjects appeared repeatedly: solidarity with the Basque political prisoners, against torture, support for those indicted in the Egunkaria case and calls for unity in favour of independence.
The eight bertsolaris' (improvisers) entrance and first bertsos (verses).
Moving farewell bertso of champion Maialen Lujanbio.