A Basque in Boise

Meet Ur Handitan, the best program in Euskal Telebista

I discovered Ur Handitan a few months ago, after a profile by that name sent me a message through Basque online dating website, Kaixomaitia.eus. The picture on the profile was too good to be true, and the message a little weird. Apparently, a Basque language television program was looking for people to appear on their upcoming show about online dating. Unfortunately, they were looking for someone local and I live abroad, so no date and no television appearance. Just my luck.

Of course, I immediately googled “Ur Handitan” and found out that, yes, it is for real. So I opened Nahieran on my computer (Nahieran has all present and past shows aired by EITB in Basque and Spanish since its inception), and watched Ur Handitan for the first time. I loved it immediately. Since I started watching the show, they have covered all sorts of delicate issues like cancer, eating disorders, bullying, suicide, rape, down syndrome… You name it!

Whatever the issue at hand, though, Ur Handitan, and its host, Xabier Madariaga, have always approach it with respect, humanity, and tact. It is a moving experience to watch their program, and I’ve always wanted to share it with you, but the shows are in Basque with no English subtitles.

Until now. Ur Handitan’s last program, Motxiladun umeak (Kids with a backpack) centers on the effects dispersion of political prisoners has on those prisoners’ children and their families. It was so successful that people volunteered to transcribe and subtitle the show.

I found the episode on YouTube with English subtitles (thank you to whoever worked on it!), and couldn’t wait to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

For Spanish subtitles, go here: http://pakitoarriaran.org/index.php/multimedia/videos/4835-motxiladun-humeak

Ur Handitan: Motxiladun Umeak (Kids with a backpack)

Do you know how Basque culture stays alive in Boise?

I do, but I have an advantage because I live here and know all the people who, day in and day out, make it happen. For those out there not as lucky as I am, let CNN come to the rescue with a short, but very informative video. Check it out!

How Basque culture stays alive in Boise

In Boise’s ‘Basque Block,’ hundreds of children sing songs and practice regional dances diligently every week as part of their community’s effort to keep the culture thriving.


GipuzkoAround: All the towns of Gipuzkoa in one 5-minute long video!

I came across this cool project a couple of days ago and I really enjoyed watching the video. In only 5 short minutes, the authors make the journey through all the towns in Gipuzkoa. Enjoy!

What is GipuzkoAround?

GipuzkoAround is a Project with the aim of joining for the first time all the townships of Gipuzkoa in a video. A 4-5 minutes video that gather significant corners, streets, monuments, landscapes and people from our towns and cities of our historical territory.

Want to learn more? Visit their site at GipuzkoAround.eus.

XXVI Edition of Bergara’s Love Letter Contest and II Edition of the Love Sentence Contest

The Jardun association in Bergara, Gipuzkoa, has put together another edition of the Love Letters Contest, also open to participants around the world. The letters must be written in Basque, original, and unpublished work. You have until January 7, 2018 to email or mail your letters by regular post. The winner will receive 500 Euros, and second place gets 250 Euros.

This year, you can also participate in the Love Sentence Contest. All sentences must be written in Basque, original, and unpublished work. You may submit as many sentences as you wish. You can send your love sentences by Whatsapp or text message to +34 605 71 24 69, or by email to amodiozkogutunak@gmail.com by January 25th, 2018. If you need to download WhatsApp, go here for iPhone, and here for Android. The prize for the best sentence will be 100 Euros.

Love Letter Contest Rules:

1. People born in 2003 or before can participate in the contest

2. All works have to be original, unpublished, and written in Basque

3. The works have to be written as letters on DIN A-4 paper, whether you are writing them by hand or submitting them by email. The letters cannot be longer than two pages

4. In order to mail the letter by post, you must place your contact information inside a small envelope (name and last names, age, telephone number, address), then put that inside a bigger envelope together with the letter and send it

To send your work by email, send the letter in a document with the letter’s title and your contact information on a separate file with your name as the title

5. Send the letter to the following address:

Amodiozko Gutunen XXV lehiaketa
Jardun Elkartea, Errotalde jauregia z/g
20570 Bergara – Gipuzkoa

E-mail: amodiozkogutunak@gmail.com

More information on www.jardun.eus, or by phone: +34 943763661 / +34 605 712 469

6. Submission deadline is January 8, 2017

7. First place will receive 500 Euros, and second place 250 Euros. There is also a 150 Euro prize for the first winner from Bergara, and a 150 Euro prize for the best entry by someone 26 years old or younger

8. The prices will be given on Valentine’s Day at the Bergara Casa de la cultura, on February 14, 2018 at 7 pm

9. The Jardun association will keep the works and will decide what to publish

10. The judging panel will be made up by leading people in the fields of literature and culture. The judging panel for the works submitter by the younger participants will be formed by students from schools in Bergara


Lionbridge looking for participants in Basque Language project

The Lionbridge Recruitment Team in Tampere, Finland, is about to start a new and highly exciting project focusing on the Basque language. They are looking for native or near-native Basque speakers to help them cover this important language.

Any interested person who has the needed language proficiency can apply. Candidates should be native or near-native speakers of the Basque language with great command of the language, basic computer skills, and the ability to follow elaborate guidelines in English.

The task is simple and it can be done from home using a phone/tablet or any computer with any microphone.

Workload: Approximately an (1) hour of engagement. The goal of the task is to record your own voice while reading randomized sentences in Basque out loud.

Who can participate on the task: Basque native speakers of age 18+.  They need 1000 people for this project, so if you know anyone interested – please forward them this info.

Where: From home, using a mobile device (Android) or a computer with Chrome (no iPhone/iPad)

Estimated start date of this project: November 2017

Compensation: 15 USD for the entire task. The salary payments are going to be carried out via PayPal.

How to participate: anyone interested should fill a short registration form at http://your_voice_eu-ES.register-lionbridge.com

After that, the Production team will contact the registered people with more details.

Kindly invite anyone who you think might be interested and forward this message to whoever you may think qualifies for this kind of work.

For questions, please email recruitmentWM.tampere@lionbridge.com and mention Basque in the header. You may also sent a message to the project coordinator, Elina Viinikainen, at Elina.Viinikainen@lionbridge.com.

Elkarrekin Together: A documentary Monday, Oct 30 at the Basque Center

Are you interested in learning about the history of Basques in North America and their unique relationship with the Native Americans in the 16th century?

Then, come to the Basque Center for Elkarrekin Together, a documentary containing the most important element of a truly great story: the constant hunger to know what’s over the horizon, what’s hidden beyond the next step. And what makes the story even better is that it all actually happened.

Date: Monday, October 30

Time: 6:00-9:00pm

Where: Basque Center (601 W Grove St)


In a tiny island in the east coast of the United States, a small group of explorers looks for something. They are archaeologists, sailors, scientists and divers, They have clues that indicate that indicate undocumented activity: a peaceful and lasting coexistence between European fishermen and Native Americans during the mid sixteenth century. Through the chronicles of this expedition, we will discover values that the world needs more than ever before: dialogue, discovery, coexistence, and the beauty of creating something together.

This event is co-sponsored by Euzkaldunak, the Basque Museum & Cultural Center, the Cenarrusa Foundation for Basque Culture, and Boise State Basque Studies.

For more information, visit Elkarrekin Together, the documentary film.


Esaera Zaharrak, a free educational game to learn proverbs in Basque

It is now possible to learn Basque and play for free with Esaera Zaharrak, developed by masterKey Games. Esaera Zaharrak is a fun and educational game of proverbs for students and native speakers of  the most ancient language in Europe, Basque, that seek to practice Basque in an entertaining and simple way. Learning Basque is now easier and more fun than ever, regardless of your level: if you have a basic level or if you are studying for the EGA Certificate, Esaera Zaharrak will help you while you have a good time.

(For more fun ways to learn and practice Basque, check out this post, Writing in Basque: Tools to get you there)

How do you play?

It’s easy, the game consists of putting the scrambled words in order to form a correct sentence.

  • If you make a mistake and click the Basque word in the incorrect order, there is a time penalty.
  • Once you have completed the sentence, you will receive a score based on how fast you were and your total number of errors.
  • You can share your knowledge with other players worldwide thanks to online multiplayer mode or with your friends on Google Play Services or Game Center.

Are you learning Basque and you want to improve your skills? Esaera Zaharrak will provide you with interesting insight into the folklore and popular values of the Basque Country, while you learn new Basque vocabulary and grammar.

Are you a pure-blooded Basque speaker? Prove it in Competition mode on Game Center or Google Play Services.

Esaera Zaharrak is a game designed and developed completely by educators to help students overcome one of the major challenges when learning Basque. With more than 250 proverbs, Zaharrak is a challenge for everyone, from beginners to the most seasoned Basque language communicators. Do you want to test your knowledge of popular Basque sayings?




Berri Txarrak North American Tour in September 2017

Berri Txarrak, Basque alternative rock band from Lekunberri, Navarre (Basque Country), has spent the last few weeks recording their new album in Fort Collins, Colorado. They will dedicate the month of September on tour —mostly in the East Coast— except for the concert next week at Surfside 7 in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Berri Txarrak is no strange to the US music scene. Along with Betagarri (another Basque group from Gasteiz), the band participated in the Basque Rock Live 2005 event put together by the Basque Educational Organization. In 2014, they spent the month of April on a West Coast USA Tour.

A Basque in Boise will be enjoying the band in Colorado next Tuesday, so please drop me a line if you happen to be there too.


9.05 FORT COLLINS, CO @ Surfside 7
9.07 MONTRÉAL, QC @ Montreal’s Metropolis (+DescendentsThe Menzingers)
9.08 TORONTO, ON @ REBEL (+ Descendents, The Menzingers)
9.09 WASHINGTON, DC @ Club Heaven and Hell DC
9.10 PROVIDENCE, RI @ Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel(+ Descendents, Night Birds)
9.11 CAMBRIDGE, MA @ The Plough and Stars
9.12 NEW YORK, NY @ The Safari Room (Brooklyn)
9.13 NEW JERSEY, NJ @ Asbury Park Brewery




BERRI TXARRAK (meaning ‘Bad News’ in euskera, their native language), has toured all around the world, including European and Southamerican tours supporting Rise Against, shows with Sick Of It All, Deftones… performances in such big Festivals as Hellfest (France), Fuji Rock (Japan), EHZ, Bilbao BBK Live, Azkena Rock Festival (Basque Country), Resurrection Fest, Viña Rock, Sonorama Ribera (Spain) SXSW (USA), Canadian Music Fest (Canada), Wilwarin Festival (Germany)… not to mention their several UK, US and Asian Tours.

When it comes to their music style, BERRI TXARRAK has proved to be pretty unpredictable and audacious, adding new sounds to their punk rock roots: the anger of hardcore or metal, the fuzz of stoner rock and even some indie rock influences. But this band’s is known for their ability to write good catchy melodies, always searching for true emotion: Weezer, Nirvana, Pedro The Lion or The Beatles are some of the bands worshipped by the singer Gorka.

That’s why this open-minded trio has worked with such different legendary producers as Steve AlbiniRoss RobinsonBill Stevenson or Ed Rose. That’s why you’ll find guest vocals in their albums by people like Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) or Matt Sharp (The Rentals, Weezer). That’s why they won the ‘Best Punk Song of the Year’ Vox-pop Award at 2010 IMA’s (INTERNATIONAL MUSIC AWARDS). That’s why they’ve been on the top of the rank of ‘Best Album of the Year’ and ‘Best Live Show’ in magazines Rock Sound, Mondosonoro, Kerrang! or Rockzone during the last decade.

2014 is Berri Txarrak’s 20th anniversary and they’re celebrating it with a very special release featuring 20 new songs: ‘DENBORA DA POLIGRAFO BAKARRA’ (Time is The Only Polygraph), their brand new triple album. Each disc has been recorded by a different producer: Ross Robinson (At The Drive-In, Slipknot…), Ricky Falkner (Standstill…) and Bill Stevenson (Rise Against, NoFX, A Wilhelm Scream…), so that every record shows a very different approach, sound and energy:

I- Ross Robinson’s EP is full of powerful heavy riffs, with a dark atmosphere that makes this song collection the hardest among the three records. Recorded at Ross’ studio in Venice (California), these songs have been mixed by german sound engineer Jan Kerscher at Ghost City Recordings.

II- Producer Ricky Falkner is known for his work with spanish indie acts like Standstill or Love of Lesbian. In this surprising EP recorded at Reno Studios (Madrid, Spain), you can listen to Berri Txarrak’s most melodic tunes. Great songs with lyrics influenced by poetry that question everything in these times we’re living.

III- Bill Stevenson is the producer chosen by Berri Txarrak to record this bunch of short, fast songs. No time to breath: this is a great punk rock song collection: 6 songs, 6 hits recorded at The Blasting Room studios in Fort Collins, CO (USA).

Berri Txarrak connexion in Boise at the Revolution Concert House and Event Center

Even if you barely follow the Basque rock music scene, you must have heard of Berri Txarrak. You know, they’ve only been in business since 1994!

Actually, Berri Txarrak originated in Lekunberri, Navarre, in 1994, but wasn’t until 1997 when they began to focus fully on the band.

Therefore, this year is Berri Txarrak’s 20th anniversary and the band will be releasing their much anticipated album in November on their own label Only In DreamsAnd among the collaborators, we find Bill Stevenson, who happens to play the drums for the Descendents, a punk rock band playing on Sunday, August 27, at the Revolution Concert House and Event Center (4983 Glenwood St.).

You can buy tickets here.

Oh, by the way, I know that they’d love to see a few ikurriñas flying around!

Berri Txarrak & Bill Stevenson @berritxarrak.net