Txoria Txori is a poem written in Basque by Joxean Artze and set to music ( folk ) by Mikel Laboa , member of the band Ez Dok Amairu .

Mikel Laboa knew Joxean Artze for collaborating on songs like Zilbor-hesteak (The Umbilical Cord ) for example, but did not know him as a poet.

In 1968 , he went to dinner one evening with his wife in a restaurant in San Sebastián . The Txoria Txori poem by Joxean Artze (then about 25 years old), which had not yet appeared, was printed on the towels. It was an act of resistance against the prohibition made by the Franco regime to use the Basque language. His wife read it to him, and told him it was a beautiful poem. He read it in his turn, and he liked it a lot too. When they got home, he set it to music in a very short time. ” 1

Mikel Laboa presented for the first time the song at the Astoria Theater in San Sebastián .


Hegoak ebaki banizkio
Neuria izango zen
Ez zuen aldegingo.

Bainan Honela
Ez Zen Gehiago Xoria Izango.

Eta nik,
Xoria nuen maite.


If I had cut off his wings
He would have been mine
He would not have gone

Yes but now,
He would not have been a bird

Yes but me,
It was the bird that I loved

Meaning of words

A man holding a bird by the wings

The bird is taken as a symbol of freedom and the words evoke the dilemma that exists when there is a close person that one wishes to possess: Or you tie and possess it like a bird in a cage , or you like it as it is, and then if she wants to go, you must let her go 2 .

The political context has involuntarily made a sort of protest song

The song is easy to sing and memorize, its rhythmic structure is slow and repetitive.

He was taken from his first performances for a traditional song .

Popularly, the piece was renamed Hegoak (the wings ), the first word of the poem and it is also known as Neria izango zen , one of the sentences that compose it, in its version arranged for the choir .

The piece is often played accompanied on the guitar or sung just a cappella . It’s a strong song that carries us away but when we look at the lyrics in French the song is much sadder. The song is composed of three stanzas: two of these stanzas have 2 verses and the first has three. The lallallalllalllalal is repeated many times. The worms are crossed.

Some versions and covers

This list is incomplete or badly ordered. Your help is welcome!

Note that this piece was taken over by Joan Baez .

Artist title Album Year Label
Mikel Laboa Txoria txori Bat hiru 1974 Elkarlanean
The Arcusgi Egoak Resistenza 1988 Ricordu
Hegoak Hegoak Hegoak 1989 Agorila
Etsaiak Txoria txori Gerra Zikina 1990 Esan Ozenki
Ángel Katarain Txoria txori (Lekeitio) Txerokee, Mikel Laboaren Kantak 1990 Elkar
Joan Baez Txoria txori Diamonds & Rust in the bullring, recorded at the arena of Bilbao 1998 Gold Castle
Portobello Bones Hasta cierto punto Refuse to keep silence 1998 PBB / Crash Disc
Errobi Kanta – Men’s Basques Txoria txori – Oi gu hemen Euskal Kulturaren Mezulari – Baiona 1998 Idol / Agorila
2B2R The auzel (Hegoak), version in Occitan “D’aii, by the way” 2003
Ester Formosa Txoria txori Perquè vull i other imprescindible canons. 2004 Ventilador Music
Ontuak Hegoak Hola Festa! 2004 Idol / Agorila
M aialen (Errotabehere), M ixu (singer of Sustraia ), and X abaltx Hegoak MMX 2008 Agorila
John Kelly & Maite Itoiz from Kelly Family Group Txoria txori The Blue Elf’s Dream – The Live Show 2009
Kepa Junkera (guest: Pablo Milanés ) Txoria txori Kalea 2009 Warner
Hak’Amarra Txoria txori Bidaian 2011 Elkar
Primaderan Hegoak PRIMADERAN 2012 ?
Anne Etchegoyen & The Aizkoa Choir 3 Hegoak (The wings) The Basque Voices 2013 Otentik Produons /
Sony Music
Battista Acquaviva Hegoak – Txoria Txori The songs of freedom 2015 Decca Records / Universal Music Group

External links

  • Hegoak  [ archive ] by The Hall of the Song
  • Lyrics and Chords  [ archive ]


  1. ↑ “The Little History”, by Mikel Laboa  [ archive ]
  2. ↑ Response Joxean Artze the question “Where did the bird Hegoak?” during an interview  [ archive ]
  3. ↑ Anne Etchegoyen clip & Aizkoa choir on Youtube  [ archive ]