In a place like Hernani, where cider is part of the essence of its culture and economy, it is no surprise that the txalaparta also has some special events dedicated to this instrument and the culture that derives from it.
Over three days, the txalaparta ttakun will bring together txalapartaris, students and fans of this instrument.
On the Saturday, txalaparta schools from different places meet up and showcase their performances and/or improvisations; they offer music and give their students the opportunity to play in the street.
The festival begins in the afternoon, with the txalaparta groups offering their sessions.
What is the Txalaparta?
It is a percussion instrument of Basque origin that requires two people to play it. They take it in turns to hit the instrument and together they create the rhythm of the txalaparta.
In fact, the term txalaparta refers to the way it is played or the game that takes place between these two people.
The txalaparta consists of two supports and some planks, traditionally made of wood, which are hit with wooden sticks or makilas (two for each txalapartari).
One of the main characteristics of the txalaparta is that it is an improvisation instrument. One of two txalapartaris is called the Ttakun (order) and ttakun is also the name of a way of hitting the instrument.
They strike the instrument at intervals, leaving spaces for the other person to fill in as they wish. The other person is called Herrena (limp), and they can choose to use ttakun (two blows), herrena (one blow) or hutsune (none).
Origin of the Txalaparta
As in other cultures around the world, the txalaparta is a percussion instrument linked to work, specifically to cider-making.
In the past, after crushing the apples to make cider, it was customary to celebrate with a dinner. Afterwards, the txalaparta was played and this was the signal for people from the surrounding area to come there and enjoy a festival that lasted well into the night.
It was also used in rural areas to signal, on the same day or days before, that a wedding was going to be held, with its corresponding festivities.