The alboka is a typical wind instrument from the Basque Country. It is usually used in rural zones. It comes from the Arabic “al-Buq” (the horn), but its origins are not clear. From the first references found, it is speculated that it could have an Asian origin and it could have arrived with the Omeia conquest of Hispania during the medieval ages.

It has a curious morphology, with a wood body (handle piece), two melody pipes, a horn which amplifies the sound, and a mouthpiece (horn or wood) where two-single reeds are placed. One of the most important curiosities of the instrument is the fact that the two melody pipes make some notes in unison (from A to D) but the left pipe can make two or three more notes (E to G), allowing  some combinations and polyphonic possibilities.

It’s well worth saying that this kind of arrangement of the parts of the instrument, with two pipes in unison and an amplification horn bell, it can also be found in some North African bagpipes as the Tunisian Mezwed. It is not the one and only of its species because we can find the same instrument in other places (gaita serrana, in Madrid).

The sound is similar to the cornamuse, sharing the continuous sound due to the specific techniques of the instrument: the circular breathing. It allows blowing at the same time you breath, producing a continuous sound.

Although it was relegated to small areas during some years, nowadays there are many albokaris and luthiers working hard to recover the instrument (Ibon Koteron, Alan Griffin…).

Els Berros de la Cort have found in the Alboka an atavistic and wild instrument. Powerful as none, it creates a sound that fits perfectly with the gralles, tarotes and all the other instruments we use. We play with an Alboka by Osses, one of the best luthier of Albokas, from Otazu (Araba).