Bertsolarism is a tradition, but a very alive one. A modern tradition. Why is it so strong? Why is it so healthy? Because of the quality of the bertsolaris? That for sure will have something to do, of course, but in our opinion, apart from the quality of the verses, there are other factors that have made possible the boom of bertsolarism.
The first try for transformation of bertsolarism took place in 1935 and was led by Manuel Lecuona and Aitzol. They wanted to make of it the nucleus of the cultural project. Their beginnings were successful but in 1936 not only its wings were cut, but also the language.
However, in the last years of Franco times, and not in few occasions, the verses were used to claim some social themes, and freedom. That was one of the first steps of the transformation. And in that context appeared Xabier Amuriza, who revolutionized not only the verse art but also the bertsolarism. The one from Etxano brought the change. He did not succeed in obtaining instant acceptance from the most traditional sectors, but with time, people have realized he was right. The art of versing and the transmission of current bertsolarism are based mostly in the change of directions introduced by Amuriza.
Another key factor of the worl of bertsolarism was that, by initiative of the Ikastola Association, bertsolarism was introduced in some ikastolas and that in 1981 the first Interschool Championship of young Bertsolaris was organized. Due to this, some Bertsolari Schools for children and youngsters were born, from which although they were autonomous entities, a lot of participants for the Interschool Championship came out.
After the victories of Amuriza in 1980 and 1982, it was time in 1985 to organize a new edition of the Absolute Championship of Bertsolaris. The outcomes of all that became a milestone in bertsolarism, for the Bertsolari Association was born, named afterwards Friends of the Bertsolarism Association.
Although that was the history, the most important transformation of the bertsolarism has been staged by the Bertsolarism Friends Association, in all related to the art of versing as well as in all related to the planning of bertsolarism. The evolution has been significant in several areas: transmission, promotion and research.
And all this has been possible thanks to those fans of the verse have organized themselves and succeed in joining paid work with voluntary work.