Mikel Laboa

You are in Mikel Laboa square. For some time, there was a slide in this square at different levels. Jose Luis Zumeta designed its layout and slide in around 1975. At the initiative of Usurbil Town Council, the square has been named after the well-known Basque singer since 31 May 2009 .

The plaque dedicated to Laboa by the town is on one side of the square. It is an artistic iron plaque in the shape of a guitar, the work of Jose Luis Elexpe "Pelex", the painter and sculpture from Usurbil, and which was unveiled during the 2009 tribute. The square is also home to the sculpture by Juan Jose Aranguren "Ikimilikiliklik", which was also in memory of Mikel Laboa.

Commemorative plaque and “Ikimilikiliklik” sculpture
Commemorative plaque and “Ikimilikiliklik” sculpture

The dialogue between the Zumeta mural and the square in memory of Mikell Laboa brings us to the relationship between Basque art and Basque singing. The decade of the 1960s saw the renaissance of Basque culture and music could not stand on the sidelines of that explosion. That cultural restoration spurred on by Usurbil gave momentum to getting different creators from very distinct sectors of Basque culture to work together. Examples of that work are the logo designed for the Ez Dok Amairu, the work of Remigio Mendiburu, a member of the Gaur group, and the very name of the group of those singers and musicians, which was the contribution of Jorge Oteiza, a driving force of the Gaur group.

Ez Dok Amairu was set up in autumn 1965. This group worked on new Basque music building on the culture’s earlier music. They were fertile and highly creative years. The highly productive solo careers of many of the members of Ez Dok Amairu - Lourdes Iriondo, Xabier Lete, Benito Lertxundi, Mikel Laboa… - are also undisputed.

Mikel Laboa had a close relationship with Usurbil. On the one hand, the covers of the majority of Mikel Laboa’s records were designed by Jose Luis Zumeta. On the other hand, the partnership between Mikel Laboa and Joxan Artze, the writer and musician from Usurbil, was really fruitful. Artze, apart from being one of the founders and ideologists of the Ez Dok Amairu group, set up with the group the "Baga, Biga, Higa" show and, after the group split up, he immersed himself in the "Ikimilikiliklik" show, along with some members of the group, including his brother Jesus, Mikel Laboa and Jose Mari Zabala. Artze revolutionised poetry, taking it to the stage and fusing it with avant-garde creative elements. Furthermore, Joxan Artze is the author of Mikel Laboa's most memorable songs (Txoria txori, Ama hil zaigu, Zaude lasai, Geure bazterrak).

Mikel Laboa sings “Gure Bazterrak” with lyrics by Joxan Artze


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