Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 4)

Wines of the Basque Country: “Springing” for a bottle of Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli

Spring time is approaching (believe it or not), and for me one of my favorite warm weather activities is sitting on a patio with a refreshing rosado or rosé wine.

As promised, I intend to share some of the benefits of doing fieldwork in a place that is world-renowned for their gastronomy.  I am excited to share that I had an interview with one of the most prominent txakolineros here in the Basque Country.

Txomin Etxaniz, as I have been told by many, is considered a founding father for the Getariako Txakolina Denominación de Origen.  I was therefore thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Mikel, who’s grandfather is the nephew of Txomin Extaniz himself.  Mikel’s father was one of the men responsible for starting the Denominación de Origen (Designation of origin) in 1989, which originally grew from the seven families that were involved.   It was much earlier, however, that the family was written into the history of viticulture in the region.  In 1649, the Gipuzkoa Protocol Archives mention Domingo de Etxaniz as being linked to growing vines in Getaria.  The family and team still produce this relic of Basque viticulture that started well before Basque gastronomy became world-famous.  From my personal experience, it is one of the most popular labels you can find in the United States for Getariako Txakolina D.O.   

I don’t know if there is anything better than drinking this rosado on a hot summer’s day.  This is the Basque version of the label, while it is translated into English in the United States.

(Txakolin Gorria, translates tored” txakoli, versus the txakolin beltza which means “black” txakoli-much like the French use of “noir” in Pinot Noir).  The acidity seems to be perfectly balanced by the fruitiness that results from mixing the hondarrabi beltza varietal with the better known white hondarrabi zuri (white varietal).  Take it a step further by pairing it with seafood, a creamy brie, or strawberries, and your tastebuds will jump for joy.

While this is a fairly easy find in the United States, which demands much of the rosado production, there’s nothing like drinking this beauty here, close to its roots in Euskalherria.  Did I mention this place comes with a view?

To find this young, zippy wine in the US, you can check out websites like: Wine Searcher

Check out the producer’s website: Txomin Etxaniz

Here is a line-up of all their delicious fermented grape products: 

Stay tuned for more wine and food recommendations fresh out of the Basque Country.  Still to come is this family’s espumoso and late harvest wine (pictured above)!

Cheers, or as they say in the Basque Country, “Topa!”

Iker Saitua – Life after a Ph.D. in Basque Studies

Iker Saitua received his Ph.D. in Basque Studies here at the CBS last spring, so we’ve decided to catch up with him and see where life takes you after doctoral studies. His dissertation, “Sagebrush Laborers: Basque Immigrants in Nevada’s Sheep Industry, International Dimensions, and the Making of an Agricultural Workforce, 1880-1954,” explores the ways in which the Basque labor force in Nevada evolved from an object of discrimination into a stereotyped prized sheepherder. It then turns to the immigration policies that allowed Basques to continue supplying the labor force, even after the 1924 Immigration Act, through an analysis of U.S.-Spanish relations during the beginning of the Cold War. Impressive indeed and worth reading every bit! But for now, let’s turn to Dr. Saitua…

  1. What have you been up to since graduation?

Keeping busy. After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno in May 2016, I returned to the Basque Country. Having returned home, I presented my dissertation at the University of the Basque Country, getting a second Ph.D. that received summa cum laude honors in History. While looking for an academic position, I am currently finishing a Master’s Degree in Education at the International University of La Rioja. Concurrently, I am revising my dissertation into a book manuscript. During this time, I have also attended various courses and workshops, including the training course for “Teaching of the Basque Language Abroad,” jointly organized by the University of the Basque Country and the Etxepare Basque Institute. I have also acted as an assessor for the interdisciplinary scholarly journal Sancho el Sabio. Revista de cultura e investigación vasca, among other things.

  1. Have you published any articles?

Yes. My article “Becoming Herders: Basque Immigration, Labor, and Settlement in Nevada, 1880-1910” has been recently published in the journal Montana: The Magazine of Western History (Vol. 66, No. 4, Winter 2016). Please see the following link: https://mhs.mt.gov/pubs/magazine/Current-Issue). Also, I am pleased to announce that the Montana Talking Book Library (a regional library of the National Library Service for the blind and physically handicapped) is recording this article for its collection. Besides this, some of my latest articles on Basque immigration in the American West will be published soon in various peer-reviewed journals. Coming soon!

  1. Do you have any new research interests?

Lately, I have become increasingly interested in the pedagogy of teaching history and social sciences. Besides that, I continue with my research in western, labor, social, legal, and environmental history of the Basques and sheep grazing in the Far West.

  1. What do you do to keep busy?

I keep busy writing history articles, researching, and reading new publications on the North American West.

  1. What do you miss the most from the U.S.?

Lots of things. I miss my colleagues and friends there. I miss those midday coffee breaks with other grad students. I miss those family gatherings too. And of course, Reno, Nevada, and the Great Basin! I miss the West and its wide open spaces.

  1. What is it that you were most excited to return to once back in the Basque Country?

Family and friends. Glad to be back home among them.


As you can see, Iker doesn’t seem to have taken a chance to take a breath post-Ph.D! I must say I look forward to reading his upcoming work and wish him the best. He may miss the West, but I’m sure the West misses him too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

500 Posts! What a pleasure to reach this milestone of sharing!

Yesterday witnessed the 500th post on the Center’s blog! And we think it entirely appropriate that we mark the occasion with a post looking toward the future of Basque Studies, with a roundup of what our young scholars here at the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies have been doing and hope to do in the future. Particularly exciting for us is the eclectic nature of our graduate students, who hail from all over the world. With such talented and committed young people, Basque Studies has a bright future!

Just like reaching the summit at Anboto, our CBS blog has reached a milestone, but we will continue to climb beyond

In honor of our milestone, today we are looking back, first at the posts that have most engaged you, our readers, over the past couple of years:

 

1. Our most read post, by a fairly long way, is the tragic case of Basque sheepherder Txomin Malasechevarria. This is a cautionary tale about just how hard it was for some people to cope with the extreme solitude of life in the mountains, the psychological effects of this loneliness, and the devastating effects this could have on not just their own lives but also those around them. There are no “winners” in this immigrant story. Check out the post here.

 

2. Next, we have a happier tale that celebrates the key role played by women in maintaining the foundations of Basque communities, through their work in Basque boardinghouses, part of the Basque immigrant experience in the United States.  Check out the post here.

 

3. Then we come to what was, for us at the time, a bit of a surprise, pleasant though it was! It’s a post reporting where the Basque Country ranks in the latest Human Development Index (HDI) league tables. The HDI is a United Nations statistical rating based on life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators that are used to measure human development. In short, it’s a means of measuring the health of a nation. Check out the post here.

 

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4.Coming in at number four is a post that continues to rise steadily in the rankings. It’s our post on the classic Basque song “Txoria txori” (The bird is a bird), a pivotal work in the Basque songbook that touches on quintessential themes in Basque culture, sung by folk, rock, and pop singers alike as well as sports fans and even reworked into an orchestral piece. Check out the post here.

5. Last in our top 5 is a post on the remarkable life and work of Juanita Mendiola Gabiola, the woman sheepherder who was winning races, age 92, at the Third Age Olympics and died a centenarian. Check out the post here.

And then, of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention some of our personal favorites over the years!

  • One of our favorite pieces of writing was this “post within a post,” if you will, dated June 8, 2015, a review of one our most cherished books, My Mama Marie by Joan Errea, which in its focus on the introduction to the work goes beyond mere review to actually engage with and write about the landscape that serves as the backdrop to the book. Check out the post here.
  • Who doesn’t like chocolate? We certainly do! And we like it so much, we wrote a post about it! Check out our rambling thoughts on Basque chocolate, culture, and history in this post, dating from November 2, 2015.

  • One of our most transcendent posts, dated February 12, 2016, concerns what came to be known as the infamous 1911 “Last Massacre” in Western Folklore. This was a major incident in the history of the American West in which Basques featured prominently and serves as proof, if needed, of how the Basque immigrant experience is an essential part of the fabric of this history. Check out the post here.

  • In another post that takes landscape as its primary focus, dated February 24, 2016, we explore how another Basque Country was “imagined” thousands of miles away from home in the remote Nevada mountains. For a great piece of original writing on the Basque experience in the American West check out the post here.

  • We’re especially proud at the Center to try whenever possible to emphasize the role of women in Basque culture and history. This post from March 8, 2016, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, served as a roundup of some of the many posts we had published in this regard.  Keep checking in with the blog because this year we will be doing special posts throughout the month of March to celebrate women’s history month.

  • A relatively recent post, dated December 12, 2016, and one that is dear to our hearts emerged out of a reader’s inquiry about native Basque sheep and pig breeds. It got us thinking so much that we wrote a post about it. Check it out here.

Thanks so much for reading and here’s to another 500 and more. It is all because of you, dear readers, so eskerrik asko once again for engaging with us and for sharing our love of Basqueness!

Welcome to 2017 at the Basque Books Blog!

Street art found in Iurreta, Bizkaia. Like the image shown here, we want this blog to serve as a bridge for all Basques, whether you are in Basque Country, in the United States, or anywhere else on this great big planet we all share!

Kaixo, hello, egunon to all of our readers as we begin what is going to be a really fun and exciting year here at the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies. There is certainly never a dull moment around here and 2017 will be no exception to that. I don’t want to go into too many details about the fun, learning and sharing that we have cooking up here, but you should definitely stay in touch with us by keeping up and following our blog throughout the year to learn more about events, books, cultural happenings and much more Basqueness!

Bookmark us or follow us, we will definitely continue to post on weekdays at 10:00 am throughout the new year. Thanks for reading and all of our best to you for 2017!

Day of the Basque Language Around the World

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Last Saturday, December 3, was the International Day of the Basque Language, and it was celebrated around the world through a variety of different events. Here in the United States, the UC Santa Barbara’s Basque Studies department held a day-long event with traditional dances, a book presentation, and food. They also inaugurated their Basque Club, zorionak!

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UCSB Poster

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UCSB Basque Studies Students

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Meanwhile in Boise, the Ikastola, or Basque-language school, and students at the Basque Museum put together a video inviting us all to speak in Basque: “Guk euskaraz, zuk zergatik ez?” or we speak in Basque, why don’t you?  The music is by Jose Antonio Larrañaga Etxabe, better known as Urko, but the song is based on a text by Gabriel Aresti.

This day was officially put in place in 1995 by the Basque Autonomous Government and the Royal Academy of the Basque Language (Euskaltzaindia), and is celebrated by many associations and public enterprises through conferences, exhibits, and festivals, among other activities. Eusko Ikaskuntza originally set the day in 1949, which was the first official celebration, even though the organization has always done so much to protect and promote the language. According to the Basque Parliament’s 2010 institutional declaration:

“Basque is the heritage of Basque society, an essential component in its history and culture. But like the rest of the world’s languages, it is the patrimony of all those who have it as a sign multilingualism. If you want to protect the diversity of languages, it is necessary to care for and promote Basque.”

“Euskera has a very long history, but we know very little about its beginnings. It is a modern and up-to-date language that society wants to continue to use and which is gaining increasing recognition in all fields. From the fundamental agreement for Euskera, embodied in the Standardization Law of 1982, until the current attempts for a renewed agreement, some time has passed, perhaps not a very extensive period of time, but a period in which the knowledge and the use of Euskera in the Basque Autonomous Community has advanced in a firm and spectacular way ”

“With the celebration of the International Day of Euskera we want to open a window to the present and future of Euskera, convinced that multilingualism can exert a favorable influence on our democratic coexistence and social cohesion.”

For a complete version of the declaration visit: http://www.euskara.euskadi.eus/contenidos/noticia/euskararen_eguna_2012/es_berria/adjuntos/Euskararen%20eguna.%20Adierazpena.pdf

For a list of the activities around the world, please visit Euskal Kultura’s website, which lays out the many events carried out in partnership with the Etxepare Basque Institute: http://www.euskalkultura.com/espanol/noticias/los-lectorados-del-instituto-etxepare-difunden-el-dia-del-euskera-por-las-universidades-del-mundo

The EITB also has a webpage dedicated to many different aspects of the Day of the Basque Language and Basque-related questions: http://www.eitb.eus/es/tag/dia-internacional-del-euskera/

Lastly, don’t forget to visit the Basque Government’s page dedicated to Basque, complete with dictionaries and translation software. It’s a great source for Basque learning, so what’s stopping you? Poliki poliki, you could be speaking and living in Basque too! http://www.euskara.euskadi.eus/r59-734/es/

Fun fact: The Day of the Basque Language is celebrated on the 3rd of December to coincide with the feast day of Saint Francis Xavier, the Navarrese Jesuit, who is said to have spoken his last words in Basque, his mother-tongue.

For more on Basque in general, check out some of the Center’s publications, like This Strange and Powerful Language by Iban Zaldua, an engaging essay that traces the development of Basque-language literature while contemplating along the way the reasons why bilingual people choose to write in smaller languages.

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See, too, Writing Words, Pello Salaburu’s compelling account of how a standard form of Basque was established, amid much heated debate, and how this served as a springboard for the revival of the language, through education, the media, and various cultural initiatives, all within a remarkably short space of time.

Other works that may be of interest include The Dialects of Basque by Koldo Zuazo; Basque Sociolinguistics by Estibaliz Amorrortu (free to download here); The Challenge of a Bilingual Society in the Basque Country, edited by Pello Salaburu and Xabier Alberdi; and Basque Literary History, edited by Mari Jose Olaziregi.

Naiara de la Puente – A Basque at the Latin Grammy Awards

The Latin Grammy Awards will be held tonight, November 17, in Los Angeles, and this year the accordionist Naiara de la Puente, a native of the capital Vitoria-Gasteiz, is up for the Best Latin Children’s Album award, thanks to her collaboration on Canciones y Palabras, organized by Veleta Roja Editions.

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De la Puente is quite an accomplished musician. She holds a degree in Accordion Pedagogy from Musikene (the Conservatory of the Basque Country) as well as a Master’s in Music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and she undertook a graduate course at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the Sibelius Academy. She has won awards at the Certamen Nacional de Arrasate, the V Concurso Instrumental Sant Anastasi, the Grand Prix de Andorra, and the Certamen Internacional Jóvenes Intérpretes Pedro Bote. Alongside her solo performances, she is a member of the Krater and SMASH Ensembles.

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The album Canciones y Palabras is based on 10 poems by Cuban writer Aldo Méndez. The format is more than just a recording: it includes an illustrated book that contains each of the songs and poems alongside activities designed to spark youngsters’ musical creativity. Carlos Cano and Henrán Milla, both professors at the Marcos Redondo Conservatory in Ciudad Real, were in charge of putting together the project and making the poems into music, while Inés Vilpi illustrated the book. Dozens of musicians are present in the project. Overall, the album represents a greater collaboration between musicians and artists and we wish them luck, zorte on!

For more information on Naiara de la Puente, please visit her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/naiaradelapuenteaccordionist/

EITB has a short video up (in Spanish) about Naiara and the album, available at: http://www.eitb.eus/es/cultura/videos/detalle/4488045/video-la-vitoriana-naiara-puente-nominada-premios-grammy/

Lastly, be sure to visit Veleta Roja’s website: http://www.veletaroja.org/#

 

CBS students presenting at the Galena Creek Visitor Center: Don’t miss out!

Join CBS students Amaia Iraizoz, Kerri Lesh and Edurne Arostegui at the Galena Creek Visitor Center (http://www.galenacreekvisitorcenter.org/) this Sunday, October 16, from 10-11AM,  as they present on various aspects of Basque migration, return and diaspora. The event is open to the public and will give attendees the chance to not only learn more about the Basques, but also get an inside look into three of the Center’s graduate students’ research.

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Arostegui will kick off the presentation, talking about Basque migration in general, but focusing on the Basque experience in the West and how they got there. Iraizoz will then speak about certain cases of return migration to the Aezkoa Valley, in Navarre. Lesh brings the presentation to the present, discussing aspects of cultural maintenance in the diaspora through Basque gastronomy. All three bring their expertise on these subjects, as they are pursuing them for the doctoral dissertations.

For more information, please visit: https://allevents.in/reno/the-history-and-culture-of-basque-sheepherders-in-the-great-basin/303664853352059

Condor Legion Exhibition and Documentary in Elgoibar, Gipuzkoa

The group Elogoibar 1936 held an exhibition in September on the Condor Legion and its decisive intervention in the Spanish Civil War to mark the 80th anniversary of the entry of fascist troops in Elgoibar.

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This was the 28th stop of the traveling exhibit since May 2013, which has been shown throughout the Basque Country thanks to Baskale, a Basque-German cultural association based in Bilbao.

The graphic exhibition is entitled “… a complete success for the Luftwaffe. The destruction of Gernika by the Condor Legion. The past and present of a Nazi crime in the war of 36/37.”

The exhibition, which consists of 16 information panels, is based on an investigation by the  regional history group “Arbeitskreis Regionalgeschichte,” based in a town near Hanover in northern Germany. The airbase where the German elite squad, later called the Condor Legion, was created is located in this town. In the 80s, the group began to go to the military archives in Germany and managed to gather information that until then had been hidden and covered under a blanket of silence.

The exhibition is characterized by providing the German point of view in its historical relations with the Spanish state and is not limited to describing the facts of the bombing of Gernika. It begins by recounting historical events, such as the military cooperation between Germany and Spain before Franco and Hitler in the Rif War or the secret illegal rearmament of the German forces after their defeat in World War I. It makes clear that Franco had Nazi support from the start, without which it would not have been possible to transport his troops from Morocco and Tenerife to the Spanish mainland. It continues to describe the Condor Legion operation on the Northern Front and devotes a chapter to the bombing of Gernika. The use of the newly created Air Force (Luftwaffe) under the conditions of war served as a practice ground for the systematic testing of people and equipment in light of the already planned World War II. In the bombing of Warsaw, Coventry, Calais, etc., experienced pilots of the Condor Legion were listed as instructors. The last panels of the exhibition speak of the lies about the bombing of Gernika, “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso, and encounters with Nazi veterans until the 80s, closing with the demand for political condemnation and a debate on the issue of a necessary reparation for the damage caused.

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The documentary CONDOR LEGION: Past and present of a Nazi crime was screened at the opening of the exhibition in Elgoibar. This documentary was made based on the Baskale exhibition held in 2014 with assistance from the Basque government. Interesting points about the birth of the German military and its role in the bombing of Gernika are revealed, taken as a field of experimentation for a future World War. The following experts from Germany, the Basque Country, and Spain were involved in the documentary:

Oiane Valero, historian and researcher

Hubert Brieden, historian and researcher

Angel Viñas, historian, economist, and diplomat

Ingo Niebel, historian and journalist

Xabier Irujo, historian and philologist- Professor at the CBS

Baskale’s work is based on the three principles of the Historical Memory movement: Truth, justice, and reparation. The main objective of the exhibition and documentary is to provide the truth about the Condor Legion and its war crimes, providing a framework for discussion that aims to learn from history so as to not repeat it.

The Baskale association denounces the historical impunity of the crimes committed by the Condor Legion, which systematically spread terror and panic among the civilian population of the more than 30 villages bombed in the Basque Country, also responsible for thousands of deaths in the Spanish state and in the many countries attacked during World War II.

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The documentary can be watched online, using the following links:

Spanish: https://vimeo.com/125135092

Basque: https://vimeo.com/130355642

German: https://vimeo.com/130350555

Dale Erquiaga, CBS board member and new President and CEO of Communities in Schools

Dale Erquiaga, a member of CBS advisory board, is relocating to Washington D.C. to take up the post of President and CEO of Communities in Schools, an organization dedicated to student achievement, keeping kids in school and aiding educators by providing resources.

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A native Nevadan and Basque-American, Erquiaga has served on our board for several years. He has been the Chief Strategy Officer for Governor Brian Sandoval and the State of Nevada since 2015, with prior experience in education as Superintendent of Public Instruction and various consultancy jobs in policy development and communications. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science here at UNR and a Master’s in Leadership from Grand Canyon University.

It is great to see Basque-Americans taking up major posts at a national level. He is sure to contribute his extensive experience to this organization and we look forward to hearing more news about this new chapter in his career.

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To learn more about Communities in Schools, visit: https://www.communitiesinschools.org/

For more information about Erquiaga’s new post, read the following press release: https://www.communitiesinschools.org/press-room/resource/communities-schools-names-dale-erquiaga-president-and-ceo/

 

 

Amama screenings begin today, don’t miss out!

AMAMA: When a tree falls (2015), director Asier Altuna’s latest film, will be shown and followed by a Q&A session at various cities throughout the United States. The tour kicks off in Boise today at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center.

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Altuna, born in Bergara (Gipuzkoa), has gained critical acclaim for his films, including a nomination for Best New Director at the Goya Awards in 2005 for his debut film Aupa Etxebeste. Amama won the Irizar Prize for Basque Cinema at last year’s San Sebastian International Film Festival.

The film is a story of tradition confronted by change in a rural Basque family farm. When the eldest son decides to move away instead of inheriting his father’s farm and way of life, the daughter, Amaia, tries to convey, while also understand, the necessity for change to her father, Tomas. Both sides are highlighted in the film, celebrating customs and tradition while grasping the need for progress. The visual landscapes are haunting in an alluring way and symbolic throughout. Watch the trailer here:

Be sure to go to one of the showings, it’s bound to be worthwhile!

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