Formed initially as a mixed choir, Oldarra, which translates as "fervor" or "impetus," has been an all-male group since 1963. Inaki Urtizaberera, who has served as artistic director since 1972, has brought a scholarly understanding of traditional Spanish and Slavic music to the choir. Trained in voice and choral conducting at Pamplona Conservatory in Navarra, Urtizaberera has taught traditional music at Bayonne Conservatoire, specializing in the playing of txistu or Basque flute. In addition to his work with Oldarra, Urtizaberera has conducted the Donosti Ereski Choir, with whom he placed first in an International Choral Competition and the Orchestre Regional De Bayonne-Cote Basque.
Released in 1998, Oldarra's album La Chant Basque featured a rich mixture of traditional tunes. In an interview shortly after the album's release, Urtizaberera explained, "The songs that make up this present recording are in the air that I have breathed since my childhood, in the wind that blows over the mountains, and in the rivers that flow down to the ocean." ~ Craig Harris