Month: November 2015 (page 2 of 3)

Guernica Lecture Tonight at Nevada State Museum

Gernika, 1937_WEB

The Center’s Xabier Irujo will travel to the Nevada State Museum tonight to lecture on Guernica and it’s repercussions for America. He will also be signing Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre, his new book from the University of Nevada Press! Here’s the information about the event from the Nevada State Museum:

Who: The Nevada State Museum, Carson City presents:

What: Frances Humphrey Lecture Series: The Bombing of Gernika and its Impact upon the U.S. by Xabier Irujo, Ph.D. Also includes a book signing for Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre, published by the University of Nevada Press.

When: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., Thursday, November 19, 2015. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Note: one week early due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Where: Nevada State Museum, 600 N. Carson Stree          t, Carson City.

Why:This program will be enjoyed by anyone interested the history of modern warfare, Basque studies, and ethical and humanitarian issues related to the effects of war on society.

Description (by University of Nevada Press):

On April 26, 1937, a massive aerial attack by German and Italian forces reduced the Basque city of Gernika to rubble and left more than sixteen hundred people dead. Although the assault was initiated as part of a terror bombing campaign by Francoists against Basque Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War, its main intent was to test the effectiveness of the rising German Luftwaffe’s new equipment and strategies. To produce this detailed analysis of the political and military background of the attack and its subsequent international impact, Xabier Irujo examined archives and official government documents in several countries and conducted numerous interviews with Basques who survived. His account of the assault itself, based on eyewitness reports from both victims and attackers, vividly recalls the horror of that first example of the blitz bombing that served the Germans during the first years of World War II. Irujo’s book, Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre, is an important contribution to the history of the Spanish Civil War and to our understanding of the military strategies and decisions that shaped this war and would later be employed by the Nazis during World War II.

Presenter information:

Xabier Irujo is associate professor and co-director at the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the author of ten books and numerous scholarly articles, mostly focusing on aspects of genocide.

Cost: $8 for adults; free for museum members and ages 17 and under.

Contact information: Deborah Stevenson: dstevenson@nevadaculture.org or 775-687-4810, at ext. 237

 

Gabriel Aresti’s Life in a Comic

The Basque illustrator Adur Larrea,  has created a graphic novel about the life of Gabriel Aresti (1933-1975), one of the most influential Basque writers and poets: Gabriel Aresti, BioGrafikoa (Gabriel Aresti: A BioGraphic), published by the Erroa press.

Adur Larrea. Photo from uriola.eus

The comic has 90 pages spanning a period  between the 1930s and the 1970s that chart the life of the great writer. Adur combines both Spanish and Basque to offer a natural portrait of Bilbao, Aresti’s home town.

The book goes on sale today,  November 19, and if you want to taste a little bit of this work click here.

The Center for Basque Studies has an interesting selection of books in its Basque Literature and Graphic Novels sections.

Images from http://www.bizkaie.biz/

Why learn a minority language? An inspirational lesson from Wales

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ll have some connection to or interest in Basque culture, however fleeting or incidental that may be. And I’m going to assume that many of you, too, if you don’t speak or understand some Basque, may have toyed with the idea of studying the language at some point, or may even be studying it now. As a native English speaker who learned Basque I routinely get into situations in which people ask why I bothered to learn a minority language in the first place. “What’s the point?” they ask. What’s more, they say, Basque is a “difficult” language to learn, so why go to all that bother?

Bred of Heaven cover

There are some answers to these questions in a wonderful book, in English, which I think can also serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement to anyone thinking about studying or actually studying Basque. It charts one person’s progress in studying a minority language, in this case another supposedly “difficult” tongue: Welsh. Published originally in 2011, Bred of Heaven: One Man’s Quest to Reclaim his Welsh Roots, by Jasper Rees, is a funny, charming, and poignant account of how one English speaker decided to learn Welsh, as well as learn as much as he could about Welsh culture in general. And the parallels for those of us, especially native English speakers, who have studied, are studying, or are thinking about studying Basque are obvious. Indeed, the two examples I mention below from the book–one negative, one positive–mirror my own experiences of studying Basque in the Basque Country.

First, there is the thorny issue of an “outsider” meeting Welsh people themselves who do not speak Welsh and see no particular point in speaking or studying it – a not untypical and always dispiriting phenomenon for the adult learner of minority (and minoritized) languages.

I’ve been learning Welsh for a few months now, but I’ve yet to have a conversation in Welsh in Wales. Something is holding me back. It’s not just common-or-garden self-consciousness . . . There’s a political dimension to my anxiety too. The overarching fear is that you summon up the courage to ask a question in Welsh, spend an age building the sentence in the language lab in your head . . . and then you go and waste it on a very Welsh-looking person who is di-Gymraeg: a Welsh non-Welsh speaker. In the minefield of the two Waleses, you can very easily cause offence.

However, I’m learning to play the percentages. There are parts of Wales where you can be fairly certain of not being understood . . . In a Black Mountains pub I meet a chirpy old waitress from Pontypool who chats with classical Welsh abandon about her health. I mention I’m learning Welsh. It’s as if I’ve slapped her violently across the face, then spat in her eyes. ‘Oh, are you?’ she sniffs peremptorily, turning her back on me. ‘Nobody speaks Welsh around here,’ she says over her shoulder as she struts out. Her implication is clear: if I were you I wouldn’t bother.

Then there are, though, more uplifting experiences. One afternoon, Rees sets off on a hike in the hills of Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin or Sir Gâr in Welsh), but soon gets lost. Seeking a shortcut to his intended destination, he hurriedly walks past a farm on private land but, on hearing voices behind him, turns around and heads back to a not particularly friendly looking couple in their sixties staring at him.

‘Where are you going?’ It’s the hunched figure of the farmer who calls back. He’s come out of the barn.

‘Over the hill to Caio.’

‘This is private land here.’

‘I’m very sorry. I didn’t realise.’ If I’m honest I did realise.

‘But if you keep on up you get to the path by there.’ He points begrudgingly up the hill, not quite having the heart to send me all the way down into the valley and round. I don’t know how it happens, but the permission kicks a tripwire in my brain.

‘Diolch yn fawr iawn,’ I say. Thank you very much indeed. The farmer’s wife pipes up.

‘Dych chi’n siarad Cymraeg?’ She wants to know if I speak Welsh.

‘Dw i’n dysgu ar hyn o bryd.’ I’m learning at the moment. Then something marvellous happens. Two stony weathered faces crease into the warmest, broadest smiles. It’s as if these few words have raised a portcullis and I’ve passed through to a sunlit inner sanctum.

. . . I suddenly feel I’ve cracked it. I am on the right path.

Check out this article about the book, and for more on Jasper Rees, click here.

Coincidentally, a delegation from the Welsh further education  sector visited the Basque Country recently in order to share good practice on bilingualism in  the post-16 education and training sector. See the delegation’s  fascinating daily blog posts about this four-day visit, which reveal much about just how much progress is being made in regard to sustaining and developing Basque in the education and training sectors, here, here, here, and here.

The CBS publishes a number of books about various aspects of the Basque language. Basque Sociolinguistics: Language, Society, and Culture, by Estibaliz Amorrortu, is a great introduction. It takes a brief look at the history of Basque, outlines its main characteristics, and discusses several issues concerning the language such as gender, social identity, language maintenance/revitalization, and ethnicity. What’s more the book is available free to download here.

The Challenge of a Bilingual Society in the Basque Country, edited by Pello Salaburu and Xabier Alberdi, picks up on many of these same themes and discusses them in more detail. Topics covered include how a legal system is shaped to reflect a bilingual society, the search for and implementation of a standard form of Basque, and the current state of the language (how many people can speak it,  how many people actually use it, and so on),

In The Dialects of Basque, meanwhile, Koldo Zuazo introduces readers to the rich dialectical variation in the language, including a new and groundbreaking classification for these dialects. And Zuazo also makes a case for demonstrating that mutual comprehension among speakers of the different dialects is not as difficult as has previously been assumed.

If you’re interested in studying Basque, check out Alan King’s The Basque Language: A Practical Introduction and Linda White’s two-volume Aurrera! A Textbook for Studying Basque (also available in separate volumes). And a great accompaniment to these grammars is The CBS-Morris Compact English-Basque/Basque-English Dictionary-Hiztegia.

 

Basque Group Wins US Music Award

The November 2015 Akademia Music Award for best album in the dance/electronica category has gone to Gose (Hunger), a three-piece trikitixa/techno/punk group from Arrasate-Mondragón, Gipuzkoa, with Ines Osinaga on vocals and trikitixa (the two-row diatonic accordion, also spelled trikitia or trikitrixa), Iñaki Bengoa on percussion and programming, and Osoron on guitar and bass. The award is for the album, Gose IIIII, and in the words of Akademia,”Demonstrating uncommon compositional skill and versatility, Gose has created an impressive collection of diverse and original dance electronica grooves.”

Gose 1

Gose in action. Photo by Saioa Cabañas, at Flickr.

Since its formation in 2004, Gose has been pushing the boundaries of the traditional trikitixa sound in Basque music. The group also incorporates elements of electro-jazz, Argentinian tango, and Brazilian percussion into its repertoire and is a firm favorite on the live Basque music scene with its highly charged performances. Check out videos by the band for the songs “Naizena izateko” (To be who I am) and “Hey Boy!!

Zorionak Gose!

Basque Wine Blog: New Movie!

Charlie Arturaola is a Uruguayan wine expert who starred in El Camino de Vino, and is also the star in the a new independent film directed by Nicolás Carreras and produced by Lino Pujia.  In the film, Charlie plays a wine taster that has lost his palate and who goes in search of getting it back.  This story takes place between Italy and the Basque Country as Charlie hunts down his lost senses.  For a short clip of Charlie in the Basque Country, watch:

Check out the movie coming soon at:

http://www.theduelofwinemovie.com/

duel

charlie

Charlie Arturaola

 

 

 

Flashback Friday: The Disciple of Barandiaran

On November 13, 1914, Julio Caro Baroja, the renowned anthropologist of Basque origin, was born in Madrid, Spain. He was the eldest son of Rafael Caro Raggio and Carmen Baroja Nessi. At a very early age, Julio moved to the Navarrese town of Bera, in the Basque Country. There, he would spend hours with his uncle, the famed author Pío Baroja. During his adolescence, he learned about Basque culture when he began reading books in his uncle’s library and this interest led him to undertake ethnographic research in the Basque Country. As a student of the Basque archaeologist and ethnographer Jose Migel Barandiaran, he quickly became drawn to Basque history and culture. In 1941, he had already completed a doctorate in ancient history. From this moment on, his contribution to Basque anthropology and historiography consisted of publishing numerous books and articles, including The Basques (1949) and Vasconiana (1974). Among other things, Baroja, who was considered a nonconformist scholar, observed Basque society as a synthesis and integration of modernity and tradition. In 1995, Julio Caro Baroja passed away in Bera and was buried in the local cemetery. Born in the context of World War I and dying in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Baroja lived through many of the turbulent events that marked the “short twentieth century,” which also influenced a considerable part of his work on Basque studies.

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From left, Julio Caro Baroja, Joxemiel Barandiaran Aierbe, and Juan Garmendia in Ataun, Gipuzkoa, in the 1970s.

ustaritz summer program

From left, Eloy Placer, Julio Caro Baroja, William A. Douglass, and Jon Bilbao during the Summer Session Abroad in Uztaritze, Lapurdi, organized by the Basque Studies Program in 1970. Source: Jon Bilbao Basque Library, UNR


For more information and a selection of his works translated into English, check out the book edited and translated by Jesús Azcona, The Selected Essays of Julio Caro Baroja.

Every Friday we look into our Basque archives for interesting historic events that happened on the same day.

From the Backlist: Relational Democracy

“Democracy exists not only when the democratic requirements of electoral processes are fulfilled, but also when there are a series of relations between citizens and governments that facilitate, encourage, and to a great extent achieve a concurrence between what citizens want their governments to do and governments actually carrying out these wishes.” With these words, Pedro Ibarra Güell hints at the main argument of his book Relational Democracy: namely, that elections alone do not make democracy.

Relational democracy

Instead, Ibarra Güell argues in favor of a greater concurrence or complementarity in everyday relations between citizens and governments. His vision of democracy is one of a broader ongoing dynamic in which elected representatives continue to interact with citizens, not just during electoral processes but throughout their terms of office. And it is in this “relational” dimension that the work seeks to offer a new vision of what makes democracy.

In developing his theory of relational democracy, Ibarra Güell goes on to discuss public participation and deliberation in democracy, social networks, and public spaces (including the media and mobilized groups such as labor unions and social movements), as well as electoral and governmental spaces. In short, he seeks to evaluate how public spaces like these can encourage such concurrence. Finally, by way of a case study, he offers a brief general overview of the extent to which his vision of relational democracy functions in the Basque Autonomous Community.

This book will appeal to students of government, public administration, political theory, and comparative politics, as well as anyone with an interest in how democracy functions (or should function).

For a more detailed study of politics in the Basque Country, see Basque Political Systems, edited by Pedro Ibarra and Xabier Irujo.

A Tale of Basque-Americans in World War II

Many Basque-Americans took part in World War II, serving with distinction in the US Armed Forces. This Veterans Day, in honor of these people, we’d like to share a couple of their stories with you.

Captain Frank D. Carranza, the son of Basque immigrants, conceived of the idea of using Basque code talkers during World War II.  Code talkers used their knowledge of lesser-known languages to transmit coded messages in wartime.  Carranza had realized that there were approximately 60 Basque-Americans at a US Marines Corps training center with a good knowledge of both Basque and English. Basque was subsequently used–in conjunction with several Native American languages like Navajo–to throw off the Japanese in the Asian Theater. Famously, on August 1, 1942, Admiral Chester Nimitz was informed about the upcoming Operation Apple to remove the Japanese from the Solomon Islands with the words “Sagarra Eragintza zazpi” (Operation Apple at seven). And the Guadalcanal Campaign (Operation Watchtower), the first major offensive by the Allies on Japan, was announced on August 7, 1942, with the words “”Egon arretaz egunari” (Heed the day).

 

manuel aldecoa

Lieutenant Manuel Aldecoa

Lieutenant Manuel Aldecoa, the son of Basque immigrants from Mutriku, Gipuzkoa, and Ea, Bizkaia, respectively,  served as a pilot with the US Eighth Air Force, whose mission was to support a future invasion of continental Europe from the United Kingdom by means of strategic bombing operations in Western Europe. On November 25, 1943,  his unit, the 55th Fighter Group (“the Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth”), carried out an operation over the Hazebrouck-Lille region of Northern France, a key strategic area that included the airbase for the Jagdgruppe 26 (Fighter Group 26), one of the elite German flying units. During the operation, Aldecoa became embroiled in direct combat with Johannes Seifert,  a famed Luftwaffe ace and commandant (Gruppenkommandeur) of the Jagdgruppe 26. During the combat, the two planes collided and crashed to the ground near Merville, killing both pilots. On receving the terrible news of his death, Aldecoa’s sister, Maurina, enlisted in the US Secret Services and also served her country with distinction.

Sources and further reading

Xabier García Arguello, “Egon arretaz egunari” (in Basque).

Iratxe Gomez, “The Secret Language.”

Mikel Rodríguez, “Los vascos y la II Guerra Mundial” (in Spanish).

See also (in Spanish)  Memoria de los vascos en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. De la brigada Vasca al Batallón Gernika (Pamplona: Pamiela, 2002), by Mikel Rodríguez, for a full account of the multiple ways in which Basques took part in World War II.

And if you’re interested in this topic, check out the account of Joe Eiguren’s wartime experiences in Kashpar: The Saga of Basque Immigrants to North America, in which the author recounts how, as a GI in World War II, he was “eager to meet the Germans, because it was always so strong in my mind what the Legion Condor [sic] had done in the Basque Country” during the Spanish Civil War.

See, too, War, Exile, Justice, and Everyday Life, 1936-1946, edited by Sandra Ott, a broad exploration of how different kinds of wars impacted on the Basque Country and beyond during this crucial period in the twentieth century.

Prominent American Women of Basque Descent: Norma Kamali

American Fashion’s Greta Garbo, Norma Kamali: Born Norma Arraez in New York City in 1945, in her own words, quoted in Kim Hastreiter’s article and interview here, “my mother was Lebanese and my father was Basque — fiery, crazy people — so I’m used to being around people who are intense and big.” But as Hastreiter also points out, Kamali is “a self-admitted hider,” someone who “has grown her brand without integrating the showbiz-PR-designer-as-celebrity aspect that many designers build into their lines these days in order to succeed.”

Norma Kamali

Norma Kamali

She graduated from Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology in 1964 and in 1968, together with her then husband, Mohammed (Eddie) Houssain Kamali, opened a basement boutique on Manhattan’s East side. Her designs were based mostly on the vintage look of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, and some of her early customers included Diana Ross, Bianca Jagger, and Cher. Nowadays, she counts Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga among her clients.

Best known for her “sleeping bag” coat, garments made from silk parachutes, and versatile multi-use pieces, she also designed the iconic red one-piece bathing suit worn by Farrah Fawcett in a 1976 publicity shot for the TV show Charlie’s Angels (the poster of which sold over 12 million copies worldwide), an item which was ultimately donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2011. Kamali was also the first designer to create an online store on eBay, has won multiple awards, and received a plaque on the Fashion Walk of Fame in New York City. Some of her work is, moreover, included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Check out the designs at her website here. And for short biography click here.

Basque Wine Blog: Baigorri and their new grapes

Per and Britt Karlsson are contributors to Forbes and have taken on the business of wine. Recently they have written an article about the famed Rioja region (look back on previous blogs for more new on Basque wine) in Spain. The two contributors are telling the story of one of the most well-known and prestigious wineries in Spain: Baigorri.  Baigorri is located in the Rioja Alavesa region in the Basque Country.  While the famed reds of the region tend to focus a lot on grapes such as  Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, and Cariñena, according to the Karlsson’s, the University of Logroño is trying to revive some of the 23 grapes that the region used to boast.  Maturana Tinta is one of the grapes that they are hoping can make a comeback.

In the article,  Matthias Lange, the PR manager says, “Here we have two meters of clay and pure limestone below…The roots pick up minerals down there”.

baigorri

If this is true, according to other events happening in the Rioja region, would this give the Alavesa/Basque region a case to at least label its bottles differently, focusing on the grapes and terroir in which it is grown?

For the whole article by the Karlsson’s check out:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/karlsson/2015/11/04/rioja-renaissance-modern-and-traditional-wines-from-bodegas-baigorri/

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