Author: csauvageau (page 1 of 2)

Alan Griffin and the Alboka

Alan Griffin, an Irish musician, originally playing the flute and the tin whistle in traditional Irish fashion, did not think much of the alboka, the peculiar Basque, single-reed, woodwind instrument, when he first encountered it.  Griffin said that it seemed like “a kind of circus trick”.  Yet, three decades later, he became an influential part of the revitalization of the alboka and traditional Basque music.

Griffin started out playing at informal social gathering for Basque social dinners, and eventually met Txomin Artola while he was playing at a cider house with the music group Ganbara, which included the accordionist Joxan Goikoetxea and they began playing together in the group Folk Lore Sorta, which eventually evolved into the group Alboka along with Josean Martín Zarko.

Joxan Goikoetxea & Alan Griffin. Photo by: Ander Gillenea, uploaded by Aztarna via Wikimedia Commons

Joxan Goikoetxea & Alan Griffin. Photo by: Ander Gillenea, uploaded by Aztarna via Wikimedia Commons

There is so much more to the story of how Griffin, along with his alboka and the group of Alboka helped the revitalization of traditional Basque music, to learn more about the story and Griffin’s thoughts on his musical career, click the following link: https://bit.ly/2pAqCe0.

Getting to Know Basque Books: A Man Called Aita

After reading My Mama Marie this summer, I decided recently to read Joan Errea’s other book in our collection, A Man Called Aita.


 
The book was a quick read, a collection of clever poems all about Joan Errea’s father Arnaud Paris and Errea’s experience growing up on the ranches of rural Nevada. Arnaud was a kind and gentle man who was a sharp contrast to Errea’s experience with her stern mother Marie. The poems are clever and playful, complimented by the fun illustrations at the beginning of every poem, including sketches of the Paris’s sheepdog “Queenie” and the pigs that had gotten into Aita’s stash of cider. It is definitely a worth-while book to check out, especially those who are fans of My Mama Marie .

 

Paul Laxalt Dead at 96

Paul Laxalt, born in Carson City, Nevada, on August 2, 1922, died on August 5, 2018 at the age of 96. Laxalt served as both the Governor of Nevada (1967-1971) and a United States Senator (1975-1987), and was involved in politics throughout his life, serving also as a chairman of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns and working with Reagan to clean up Lake Tahoe.

Laxalt went to college at Santa Clara University in California, then enlisted in the Army in World War II as a medic. Under the G.I. Bill, he went on to the University of Denver to earn his law degree. In 1950, Laxalt was elected Ormsby County’s (in northwestern Nevada, which contains Carson City) district attorney and served for one term. Laxalt was elected lieutenant governor in 1962.

10/6/1983 President Reagan Nancy Reagan Paul Laxalt Bob Michel Corrine Michel and Carol Laxalt watch the Performance by Oak Ridge Boys during the Barbecue for Members of Congress on the South Lawn by Reagan Presidential Library via Wikimedia Commons

10/6/1983 President Reagan Nancy Reagan Paul Laxalt, Bob Michel, Corrine Michel, and Carol Laxalt watch the Performance by Oak Ridge Boys during the Barbecue for Members of Congress on the South Lawn by Reagan Presidential Library via Wikimedia Commons

Laxalt was the brother of Robert Laxalt, who was the author of Sweet Promised Land, a groundbreaking novel for Basque culture in the United States, and the grandfather of Nevada’s Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt, who is now running for Governor of Nevada.

 

Dr. Sandra Ott’s Living with the Enemy Featured on Historias Podcast

Dr. Sandra Ott

Dr. Sandra Ott

Dr. Sandra Ott, a professor here at The Center for Basque Studies, was a guest on the most recent episode of Historias, a podcast about Spanish history hosted by Foster Chamberlin, who holds a PhD from University of California, San Diego in modern European history. This episode of Historias is about the subject of Nazi occupation in the Basque Country during World War II, Ott talks about her book Living with the Enemy: German Occupation, Collaboration and Justice in the Western Pyrenees, 1940-1948which was published by Cambridge University in 2017 and how the German occupation in the 1940s affected the Basque people’s way of life.  The conversation between Chamberlin and Ott is full of stories about oppression, daring resistance, and everything from political conflict to how the occupation affected family relations. It is truly a fascinating episode. To check out the episode click the following link: https://bit.ly/2D5IpDH

Getting to Know Basque Books: Journeys, Fruits, Neighbors

Journeys, Fruits, Neighbors by Maite Gonzalez Esnal is a beautifully written book about the life experiences of Esnal, all under the three themes; her journeys as an adult linguist, the fruits she associates with her school days (figs and pomegranates) and the neighbors of her childhood home growing up in the Basque country during Franco’s dictatorship. 

Journeys, Fruits, Neighbors  is one of my favorites of the books we publish here at the Center for Basque Studies Press for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it is written so well, at times it feels as though you are reading poetry, you can see how red the pomegranate juice is, you can smell the coffee the Good Samaritan gives her. There are quotes that cut deeply and explain emotion and memory in a way only fantastic writing can. I was talking to the editor here, Daniel Montero, last week about how the author not only wrote this novel, but did her own translations from Basque to English, and I was amazed. To be this gifted at writing, not only in your native language but to be able to translate it into another language and have such beautiful, almost surreal imagery translate, was an unimaginable talent to me.

Maite Gonzalez Esnal; to read more about the publication of Journeys, Fruits, Neighbors, click here: https://bit.ly/2M03wXc

Maite Gonzalez Esnal; to read more about the publication of Journeys, Fruits, Neighbors, click here: https://bit.ly/2M03wXc

This novel, aside from the beauty of it, is also an incredibly interesting story, my favorite being the “neighbors” section of it. It is so heart-breaking, yet innocent, since Esnal wrote it from her experiences as a child, she hints towards tragedy in a way that makes it even more devastating than if she had blatantly said it. Despite the tragedy in the last section, there is a comforting glimmer of hope at the end of the book. The other sections are also great, the “journeys” section being a incredibly detailed travel journal and the “fruits” section being a bit more of a short story collection. It is hard to put this book in a box, which makes it even better. From anyone who liked Eat, Pray, Love to The Book Thief, this book has something for anyone.

Diaspora Day

The very first Diaspora Day was held last Saturday, September 8th, a date designated by the Basque government because the date coincides with the first global circumnavigation in 1522 by Juan Sebastian Elkano and his crew.

People posing by Basque monument in Reno, Nevada  People gathering around

The day focuses on the Basque diaspora and different Basque organizations and communities would each find a way to celebrate. The idea is to bring more attention and celebrate the Basque diaspora. The Reno diaspora decided to do a walk from the Basque Sheepherder Monument to the Sheepherder Exhibit. To learn more about Diaspora Day and how it came into being, check out the blog post by Kate Camino on the new holiday: https://bit.ly/2CH80Tn.

Photo of Basque monument by Inaki Arrieta Baro

Photos by Inaki Arrieta Baro

Congrats to Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain on Completing her PhD Defense!

On August 30th, the committee of Dr. Xabier Irujo, Dr. Mari Jose Olazregi, Dr. Justin Glifford, Dr. Mario Santana, Dr. Joseba Zulaika, Dr. Meredith Oda and Dr. Sandra Ott all gathered to hear PhD student, Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain’s PhD defense. When asked to explain her dissertation, Ziortza explained “The cultural magazine Euzko-Gogoa was undoubtedly an emblematic leader in the history of the Basque press and a symbol of the resurgence of the Basque language and nation during Franco’s dictatorship. However, there is very little academic research on the contribution that Basque literature in exile made to the secularization and modernization of Basque literature, and even less research about the magazine published in English. Euzko-Gogoa, since its beginnings, played an important role in the Basque culture. The symbolic, idealistic and vocational understanding of culture, which was characteristic of the 1950’s, created such a vital and dynamic movement that it is almost impossible to talk about the Basque cultural renaissance of the 1960’s without properly examining this magazine. The impact of exile was instrumental in the process of planting the seeds for future nation building. With a country defeated and its culture outlawed, it was in the diaspora where the Basque nation could be rebuilt and re-imagined. Euzko-Gogoa created a foundation of ideas that would serve to maintain the dialogue of a desired community while maintaining and developing the Basque language and culture. This dissertation acknowledges the exceptional nature of exile and its impact in the character/identity of the magazine.” The once grad student, passed with flying colors, and is now headed to Boise State University for a lectureship.

Dr. Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain

Dr. Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain

When I asked Ziortza about how she chose her topic for her dissertation she said, “I admire believers, dreamers and the ones that fight for impossibilities to make a better world. I realized that the cultural projects made in exile/diaspora were many times made by these unlikely heroes that defended actions and projects that were many times bordering fantasy and reality. Their unacceptability to succumb to impositions inspire me to write about them.” Ziortza explained how she loves fantasy, specifically J.R.R. Tolkien and in her words “envisioned myself in this imagined world where I could join the fellowship in the fight for middle earth.  So when I was teaching high school in the Basque Country I felt a yearning still for more education and opportunities. I was extremely lucky to also have met Dr. Olaziregi during my masters and she was always an amazing reference and person of inspiration. So I contacted her to see if there was an opportunity to seek out more knowledge in the Basque diaspora. The dominoes started to fall and sure enough the opportunity presented itself to leave my ‘Basque shire’ and set out on an adventure to research and share the passionate story of Euzko-Gogoa, it’s creator Jokin Zaitegi, and the amazing fellowship he created…Zaitegi was a dreamer who, despite his constant defeats, created a world for the Basque language and culture, for the next generation of Basques such as myself.”

      

Congratulations once again to Dr. Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain on all her accomplishments and we look forward to all she will accomplish in the future!

 

Bill Douglass Featured in the Las Vegas Sun

Bill Douglass, the founder of the Center for Basque Studies, was interviewed by Yvonne Gonzalez of the Las Vegas Sun for a Q + A in her piece about the Basque Fry Fundraiser in Gardnerville, Nevada. Since Douglass has been researching and writing about the Basques and Basque culture since the 1960s, he was the natural choice to ask questions about Basque cuisine, culture, history and how all of these aspects helped shape the American West into what it is today.

Bill Douglass

Bill Douglass

He explained how the Basque cuisine is different in the United States than in Euskadi because of the different availabilities to seafood. He also talked about the history of Basque boardinghouses and how it shaped the way we think of Basque cuisine today, as well as the way Basque immigrants have been viewed in the United States and the fluctuating status of the sheep industry. It is a fascinating interview and if you want to learn more about Basque culture, history or the diaspora, this is a great read!

The Basque mural in Gardnerville, Nevada by Beverly Caputo; to read more about The Basque mural, click here: https://bit.ly/2N7E1I7

The Basque mural in Gardnerville, Nevada by Beverly Caputo; to read more about The Basque mural, click here: https://bit.ly/2N7E1I7

To learn more about the interview or The Basque Fry Fundraiser in Gardnerville, Nevada click here: https://bit.ly/2MSKWop

Fall 2018 Semester is Here!

A new semester is beginning here at the Center for Basque Studies. Though we mourn the end of summer, it is sure to be a great semester full of new experiences and ways to expand our knowledge of the world.

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada via Wikimedia Commons

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada via Wikimedia Commons

We are offering several classes including two classes taught by our very own Kate Camino, where one would begin to learn the unique and beautiful language of Euskara. Mariann Vaczi is teaching Basque Tranationalism in the United States, which sounds like a fascinating class about the theories of globalization, social identity, diaspora foreign policy, identity construction, and nationalism and how they compare to the Basque individual and institutionalized ethnicity in the United States. Dr. Xabier Irujo is teaching a class on Basque politics, focusing on the history and legal status of Euskadi in relation to Spain and the European Union, as well as post-Franco nationalist movements and party development.  Joseba Zulaika is teaching a class on the Bilbao Guggenheim, focusing on not only the artistic and architectural aspects of the museum, but also its social and political effects on a local and global level. Finally, Dr. Sandra Ott is teaching a course on Basque culture within Euskadi and in emigrant settings, specifically the American West. We can’t wait to see what the next semester holds and wish you all a wonderful autumn!

Incoming Grad: Callie Greenhaw!

 

Welcome to our newest graduate student, Callie Greenhaw! Callie is a University of Nevada, Reno alumni, having earned her BA in Anthropology with a minor in Archaeology in 2016. When Callie was an undergrad at UNR, she took Dr. Ott’s Basque class to fill an academic requirement, and ended up really enjoying it. Growing up in Elko, Nevada, Callie was surrounded by Basque culture constantly, but did not realize its significance until this class. She enjoyed the class so much in fact, that she considered minoring in Basque Studies, but did not have time, and instead took as many Basque Studies classes as she could before graduating.

 

Before returning to UNR to pursue her PhD in Basque Studies, Callie traveled to Greece and the UK to pursue her studies, and went on to earn her MS in Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology from the University College London in 2017. Up until now, Callie’s field of study has been dental anthropology, her thesis at the UCL being the postmarital residence patterns of post-medieval Chichester in West Sussex by analyzing the sexual variation of dental nonmetric traits.

 

During her time with us at The Center for Basque Studies, Callie will be studying the Basques of Elko. Her goals include providing an academic study to the Elko Basque community and add to the collection of research on the Basque Diaspora, learn Euskara, and gain teaching experience and publish some of her research.

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