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There is a saying that three Basques make a choir.  Basques are noted music fans and singers, at least from what we know from recent history.  Earlier it appears that song remained outside the mainstream; the attachment became stronger when Basques were challenged by outsiders.  This is what prompted the works of the two priest "song-catchers:" Azkue and Donostia.  Azkue was more fortunate and his work was disseminated further.  The misfortune is that after them no real ethno-musical movement emerged; consequently our musical tradition remained in the realm of fantasy and legend moreso than reality until quite recently.

Is there Basque music?  Besides the defining characteristic of the lyrics in the Basque language, there was a massive debate over this at the beginning of the 20th century.  Two representative perspectives included Francisco Gaskue and R.M. Azkue.  Gaskue noted that many tunes were not only sung in the Basque Country [e.g., Uso Zuria, Agur Jaunak] and he hypothesized that Basque music was mostly a hybrid of borrowed material.  Azkue meanwhile took the opposite tack.  While acknowledging borrowing, Azkue emphasized the primacy of indigenous works.  The debate endures.  Basque music remains related to--yet distinct from--other song forms. 



External Links

Online Streaming of Basque Songs -

Lyrics to Basque songs with English Translation -

Lyrics to Basque Songs - Musikazblai



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