The Artze brothers

Plaza de la Liberad (Askatasuna Plaza – Freedom Square ) is decorated with ceramic figures, the work of Carlos Zabala "Arrastalu", the artist. These figures reflect the customs and everyday life of Usurbil, along with some local characters. You can see a couple of txalapartaris [txalaparta players], the well-known brothers from Usurbil - Jesus and Joxan Artze -, by the bowling area.

The txalapartaris in the Plaza de la Libertad
The txalapartaris in the Plaza de la Libertad

Jesus and Joxan Artze brought the txalaparta back from oblivion and took it out of its traditional sphere into modern life . They took an aspect of traditional Basque culture and turned it into part of contemporary culture, away from pure folklore.

The Artze brothers playing the txalaparta

The txalaparta is a percussion instrument from traditional Basque music. It consists of horizontal planks on two stands and which is played using four sticks. This instrument is said to date back thousands of years, even though that has not been proven. This instrument, which has been passed down since ancient times, even though we do not know the exact time, continues to thrive in Usurbil. In fact, the txalaparta is believed to have been traditionally linked to the world of cider and the farmstead. In many towns, when the cider was ready for drinking, the txalaparta was used to announce that to the local residents. In the same way that the txalaparta can be said to be part of today’s Basque music, cider and the cider houses have survived to a certain extent thanks to Usurbil.

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