The guitar of the Basque poet and musician Iparragirre has sounded again in Gernika 200 years later

The General Councils of Bizkaia have completed the restoration of the guitar of the Basque poet and musician José María Iparragirre, on the occasion of the 200 years of its birth in Urretxu, and it was presented this Monday at its headquarters in Gernika. The instrument has sounded again this Monday with the interpretation of his most famous composition, “Gernikako Arbola”.

Following a “meticulous” repair process that has recently been completed and that “has respected the original characteristics of the instrument”, Iparragirre’s guitar (1820-1881), to be exhibited in its usual location, inside a glazed urn in the Sala de la Vidriera of the Casa de Juntas de Gernika.

The restoration work has been presented, together with the Tree of Gernika, by the president of the General Councils of Bizkaia, Ana Otadui, who has been accompanied by the provincial deputy for Culture, Lorea Bilbao, the mayor of Urretxu, Jon Luqui, and Laura Vicario, luthier who has been in charge of restoring “The old wooden instrument that has sounded again next to the oak tree”, as reported by the Basque Provincial Parliament.

An actor, who has played the role of Iparraguirre, and the guitarist Silvia Gutiérrez have once again interpreted the famous song “Gernikako Arbola”, composed by the famous Basque bard, “with the sounds of the old instrument”.

The restoration work has been carried out by Bilbao luthier Laura Vicario commissioned by the president of the General Councils of Bizkaia, who has reported on the tour of the guitar until it reached the historic seat of the Parliament of Bizkaia.

Vicario has explained the steps he has taken to complete the restoration of the guitar, that has undergone an exterior and interior cleaning process, for subsequent repair using natural glues that were used at the same time the guitar was built.

After removing it from impurities, scratches and cracks, the instrument has been varnished with natural resins of its own manufacture. In its restoration, the instrument has been treated against woodworm and the six strings of the instrument have been replaced by others for 19th century instruments, smooth gut treble strings and silk bass strings wound in silver-plated copper.

For now, the «Famous wooden instrument» that traveled with José María Iparraguirre, cannot be seen in its usual place, since due to the pandemic the interior of the Meeting House of Gernika is closed to the public.


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