San Fermín 2024 | The jota of the first bull run: the change after 27 years

San Fermín 2024 | The jota of the first bull run: the change after 27 years
San Fermín 2024 | The jota of the first bull run: the change after 27 years

San Fermín 2024 | The jota of the first bull run: the change after 27 yearsIñaki Porto

Es The voice of the Cuesta de Santo Domingo before the first bull runwhich calms fear and breaks the silence of the young men who stretch, leaning against the wall, first rotating one ankle and then the other, doing some squats to relax their muscles and letting out a sigh as they jump into the air. Susana Nagore He will also be afraid on July 7th. “The waiters end up passing it on to me.” He feels it every year, but this will be the last. “After 27 years I am leaving, for personal reasons and to make way for other generations,” he says. He is referring to the jota that he plays before the first bull run.

This Sunday passes the baton to the one who was her student for three years at the Huarte Jotas School, Haizea Mayo Lizarraga, what at 17 years old Susana takes responsibility. The two of them will go down the hill and, in front of the niche to the Saint, they will sing the jota of the running of the bulls, after the first chant of the runners. “We will do it together, but next year it will be Haizea. She is very well prepared,” Susana says.

Susana Nagore, 53 years old from Rochapeanaremembers singing jotas since he was 5. She was the third of the Nagore Zapelena Brothers. Susana, Juan Carlos and Txus starred in several albums during the 80s, not only jotas, but also rancheras, zortzikos, etc.. until the year 1994. That artistic vein had to come out somewhere and Susana Nagore took a chance in 1995: “It all came from a bet. One of the people tells me (La Jarana, which is a lifelong thing): ‘I bet you don’t have the balls to sing.’ The only thing missing is for someone from Navarra to say that,” he says.

Pregnant, she went down the hill, spoke to Javier Hermosilla (then the one who was leading the chants): “I asked him if he could sing a jota before the bull run.” And he won the bet, and so much so that he has been singing it ever since. 27 years. Singing, not running: “I have always flown off the track, but my son is a runner, and the first person I hug when everything is over is always him.”

Archive image of the jota sung in honour of San Fermín during one of last year’s bull runs.

“When I decided to leave, I thought of someone who would take over from me, because this tradition could not be lost.” He first told his daughter, Irati Alfaro, also a jotera, and the daughter of her accordion partner Andoni Armendárizbut they didn’t want to. That’s why she remembered her student, Haizea Mayo from Huarte. This Sunday, teacher and student are going to play the jota, in unison, with Andoni on the accordion and Urko Milagro on the guitar, all from La Jarana. “We will both sing the same voice, and next year I will slow down a bit to keep an eye on Haizea.”

Susana Nagore leaves it with a certain nostalgiaand she admits that she has been privileged to have been able to experience the wait for the first running of the bulls for so many years. “On the running of the bulls that day you feel a lot of emotion, the runners give you adrenaline,” she confesses and adds that “it has been a real honour to sing this jota. Because it is something very much from home, very much ours and the affection I have received is priceless.” Susana gets emotional and remembers that the jota has made her a bit famous, especially in Sanfermines: “People stop you, take a photo with you, invite you for a drink….” She is a defender of the jota, a genre that, he claims, “has to be maintained and it must also be maintained in San Fermín, but the jota navarra, which has its style”.

Haizea Mayo: Following the legacy

Who admits to being nervous about taking on the role is Haizea Mayo, the 17-year-old jota girl from Huarte who takes over this Sunday: “At first I was very surprised to know that the person who was my jotas teacher wanted to give me such a responsibility and it took me a while to give him the answer because Many emotions came to me”. Remember, then, that his “mother in lawwho is no longer with us, was a big fan of watching the bull runs because my uncle ran, and when they told me how excited he got when he heard that jota on July 7, something moved me to say a resounding yes. Part of this decision is thanks to her“, he confesses.

Despite being 17 years old, Haizea is excited about the challenge: “I am very young, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it. Susana has worked hard with me to ensure that her legacy continues as she wants.”he says and adds: “I think that growing up with this jota is a very nice challenge and, in addition, Susana will be there every year, which gives me even more security.”. This jota for Haizea is more than any jota I have ever performed: “It involves emotion, responsibility, enthusiasmbecause being able to accompany the runners at such a special moment is a gift and I want to enjoy it with them.” In fact, she confesses to being a fan of the bull runs: “They are pure emotion,” she says.

On how he has prepared for this July 7th, Haizea Mayo explains that “Susana and I have rehearsed for several days,” a few, because this Sunday is the jota of the farewell to their teacher and it is possible that the voice breaks: “I know that, being her farewell there will be many mixed feelings”, but, above all, “what we cannot know is what the emotion that we will experience at that moment will be like, but I will do my best to control it”.

Arms akimbo, a good voice and a lot of feeling will surely accompany Haizea’s jota this morning: “My greatest wish is to continue this legacy that Susana leaves me. What can I contribute to this moment? I think it is my youth and the desire to continue an act that has been going on for 27 years.” And “continue to grow year after year with this beautiful and emotional tradition, Always accompanied and supported by the La Jarana club, the runners and whoever wants to experience this moment”.

This Sunday Haizea Mayo will feel a knot in her stomach. And so will Susana Nagore. “What do I recommend to Haizea in the jota? That she enjoys it, that she lets herself go… Because they will give her a lot of love”says the teacher.

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