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Eskerrik asko!

Kursaal hosted yesterday the closing event of Europa bat-batean which gathered improvisers from Austria, the Balearic Islands, the Basque Country, Cuba, Cyprus, Mexico and Wales. In addition to the individual shows, the audience enjoyed the exchange between delegations too. A great ending for the project started in autumn 2015.

Starting at 7pm and during nearly three hours, the audience enjoyed the different improvised verse singing arts around the world. That was the closing event for the meeting organized in July as well as for the whole project, Europa bat-batean, which had three stages: autumn 2015, spring 2016 and summer 2016.

Norbert Hauer and Hans Eder from Austria; Mateu Matas and Maribel Servera from Balearic Islands; Iran Caballero, Yoslay García, Eduanis González and Yunet López from Cuba; Marios Poullas, Georgios Siaxiate, Alexis Charalambous and Charalambos Charalambous from Cyprus; the trio Las Alondras of Mexico (Diana Laura Hernández, Dana Sofía Limón and Rebeca Tesy Limón); and Eurig Salisbury and Karen Owen from Wales took part, along with bertsolaris Miren Amuriza, Amets Arzallus, Alaia Martin, Ane Labaka and Julio Soto. The performance was presented by Maite Berriozabal and Alaitz Rekondo.

Apart from the performance by improvisers and accompanying musicians, the work carried out by interpreters and translators throughout the week is also outstanding: Karlos Aizpurua, Maddalen Arzallus, Ion Gil, Oihana Iguaran, Arrate Illaro, Irati Majuelo, Thomas Nussbaumer and Begotxu Olaizola have been responsible for the translation, making the exchange between delegations possible and allowing public to follow the performances.

The improvisers had to perform all kind of exercises: two of the topics were proposed through the artistic pieces of Oholtza by Beñat Krolem – this work was devised by Krolem thanks to a grant awarded by Mintzola Ahozko Lantegia and Mikel Laboa Chair-; Julio Soto sang together with the trio Las Alondras, accompanied on backing vocals by Amets Arzallus and Beñat Gaztelumendi; Alaia, Maribel and Yunet sang the exercise pie forzado, well-known in Cuba; and at the end, everybody made their farewells in the rhythm of the Mexican melody Querreque. The group Beira also participated in the event.

The delegations have been knowing each other throughout the whole week and the connection among them was noticeable in the last show. Performances as well as academic conferences have shown the diversity of the improvised verse singing and they have been helpful to know the reality of each one and share illusions and challenges; we are convinced that these relationships will bring more projects in future.

The project devised by Mintzola Ahozko Lantegia in collaboration with DSS2016EU has developed in three stages. It began in autumn 2015 in Leon and Barcelona; a tour around the Basque Country was carried out in April; and finally, in July there have been academic conferences and performances in Donostia.

The collaboration of many organizations and volunteers has been necessary. Thank you very much for everyone who makes this possible.