Music of Basque Country 


The Basque are an ethnic group living in parts of France and Spain, with the majority in the latter country. Their original ancestry is almost completely unrelated to the ones of their immediate neighbors, and their origins are unknown. Trikitrixa is the most widespread and well-known form of Basque folk music, though there are also singer-songwriter and choir traditions.

Euskadi, or Basque Country, is home to a lively style of folk music called trikitrixa, based on a diatonic accordion. Kepa Junkera and Joseba Tapia are probably the most famous performers of trikitrixa.

Other Basque instruments include the alboka, a difficult wind instrument made with horns, the txalaparta wooden beams and the txistu (similar to a tin whistle).

There is also a tradition of choral music, like the Orfeón Donostiarra and Mocedades.

The French Basques have produced their own stars, including the choir Oldarra from Biarritz

Other Basque artists singing in Basque include Oskorri, Negu Gorriak, Benito Lertxundi, Mikel Laboa, Fermin Muguruza and Azala.


The txistu is a kind of flute that has become a symbol for the Basque people. It is a three-holed flute that can be played with one hand, leaving the other free to play a percussioninstrument. In the 18th century, the txistu was appropriated by the Count of Penaflorida and his Basque Illustration cultural revival, and became a part of Basque aspirations into the nobility. The instrument was modified to give it a range of two octaves and a larger version called the silbote was created to accompany polyphoniccompositions.

Rural txistu musicians continued their own traditions, while the urban txistularis formed schools to teach the instrument.

The oldest txistu melodies are characterized by a G major mode with a natural F, which is the same as the seventh mode in Gregorian chanting. More recently-composed songs are still in G major, but in either natural or sharp F or, more rarely, C. There are exceptions, however, in major F melodies with natural B.

The Association of Txistularies in the Basque Country was formed in 1927 to promote txistularis. The organization has continued its activities to the present, except for an interruption during the Franco dictatorship.




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