Recently I was invited out to the Mendeguia sheep camp for a picnic with some of the visiting USAC scholars. The Mendeguia sheep camp is the Sierra Nevada, north of Truckee, California. Although the Mendeguia’s retired many years ago, they continue to consider this a very special home away from home and it was treat to spend time there with them.

As is often the case at a Basque get together, an instrument appeared (in this case a trikitixa), and everyone enjoyed the songs, especially the daughter of one of the USAC visiting scholars, who decided to accompany the accordionist with an improvised txalaparta!

Photo Aug 10, 4 18 31 PM

The old dining house, once the heart of the sheep camp, falling into disrepair.

Photo Aug 10, 4 14 09 PM

The bread oven. Wednesday was bread baking day, they used 50 lbs of flour at a time. The following day the camptender would deliver fresh bread to the bands spread through the summer range.

Photo Aug 10, 5 24 08 PM

Abel Mendeguia, originally from Lesaka, making his world-famous sheep camp fried potatoes to the absolute delight of the crowd.

Here is another video, of the txalaparta, that is included as an extra on the accompanying DVD to our great ethnomusicography, Alejandro Aldekoa: Master of Pipe and Tabor Dance Music in the Basque CountryThe video originally aired on Basque television in the 1980s.