A Basque in Boise

Volunteers needed to document Aspen carvings on August 18-20

Astero‘s weekly bulletin always brings interesting news related to the Basque Country and the Diaspora. This week, we will learn about how you can help document Basque tree carving.

A few good Basque-speaking volunteers are needed to help document Basque tree carvings this weekend, August 18-20th at Monitor Pass, California. The tour will be from 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Sunday. A traditional sheepherder dinner will be provided on Saturday night, as a reward for your efforts.

If you are interested in helping them out, please email them: aspenluv@gmail.com or call 760-258-6574.

Related posts:

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Job for Basque native speakers – Voice Data Collection

Hey guys! I just came across this opening for Basque native speakers, which can be done from the comfort of your own home. I have no idea how much the job pays, but hey, you can always say no!


Appen, a global leader in language and search technology is working on a voice recognition development application and we are seeking native Basque speakers to participate in this project to improve the quality of voice recognition technology.

Task description:

  • The work will involve recording yourself reading short Basque prompts from a WebApp using your own computer or Android smart phone/tablet. (WebApp is not compatible with iphone/Ipad).
  • You can do this speech recording from the comfort of your home
  • The total recording time will take approximately 1 hour. You can choose to record the prompts in several separate sessions or complete them all in one session.
  • The audio files must be successfully uploaded and of good quality.
  • Upon completion, you will be paid via Paypal/Skrill


  • You must be a native Speaker of Basque
  • Spent most of your time living in Spain
  • Good Wi-Fi connection to upload while doing the recordings

Detailed instructions will be provided via email shortly after you have registered.

Appen constantly seeks motivated freelancers to support their translation, transcription, annotation and data collection teams. Your successful contribution to this project will grant you a space in our database and a good chance to be considered for projects in the future.

If interested, you can apply online here.

For the original posting, click here.




32nd Annual Euzkaldunak Benefit Golf Tournament – Saturday, September 17

Are you interested in playing golf at the annual Basque Open? If so, you are in luck! The 32nd Annual Euzkaldunak Benefit Golf Tournament will take place on Saturday, September 17th, 2017, which will carry on the great tradition of raising money for an important need somewhere in the Basque community.


  • Four/Five person Scramble
  • Teams can consist of all men, all women, or mixed
  • Awards will be given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams
  • Refreshments on cart
  • Tee prize for each golfer
  • You must be 21 years or older to play

Get your team together and sign up today! You can download the complete registration form here.

For questions, please contact Joseph Aburusa at joseph.aburusa@bankofthewest.net.

VI Edition of Bergara’s Summer Postcard contest, organized by Jardun Euskara Elkartea

One of my favorite Basque organizations, Jardun Euskara Elkartea in Bergara, Gipuzkoa, has organized a new writing contest to boost Basque language use among people in the Basque Country.

Summers can be full of wonderful experiences and great adventures, so don’t miss the chance to share your bit with the world. All you have to do is write a postcard in Basque and you might be the lucky winner of a new Tablet!

Summer Postcard Contest Rules:

1. Everybody is welcome to participate and send as many postcards as they wish

2. All postcards have to be mailed and written in Basque

3. The postcards must be mailed to the following address from any place in the world:

Jardun Elkartea, Errotalde jauregia z/g
20570 Bergara – Gipuzkoa

4. The last day to receive postcards will be September 17, 2017

5. The subject will be open. Don’t forget to put your phone number on the postcard

6. Prize: A Tablet

7. The judges will focus, among other things, on how beautiful the postcard is, originality, content, and writing style

For more information, call the following phone numbers 943763661 / 605712469 or visit www.jardun.eus.

What are you waiting for? Send your postcard today!

And if you miss out on this summer’s contest, you can always get ready for Jardun’s annual Love Letter contest, which will take place towards the end of the year. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you guys posted!

Boise State University to bring a 400-year-old play to Boise based on the life of Basque nun Catalina de Eraso

My friend, who works at BSU, sent me a link this morning to an article published last week by Boise State University. The article talks about the efforts of Edward “Mac” Test, an associate professor in the English Department, to bring a 400-year-old play to Boise. The play, “Comedia Famosa De La Monja Alférez,” tells the story of Catalina de Erauso, a Basque nun who ran away from the convents and lived a life of adventures disguised as a man.

I had never heard Catalina’s story, but after reading about her on this Wikipedia entry, I can’t wait for the play to come to Boise. She was definitely a character and I would have hated to be on the wrong side of her friendship.

Bringing a 400-Year-Old Play to Boise

BY: Brady W Moore   Published 3:49 PM / June 22, 2017

Edward “Mac” Test, an associate professor in the English Department, is packing his bags and headed east to spend his summer digging through archives in Madrid, Spain.

Photo of Professor Test in the Basque block.

Edward “Mac” Test at Boise’s Basque block @ BSU

Test is translating a nearly 400-year-old play, “Comedia Famosa De La Monja Alférez,” into English for the very first time. The play is based on the true story of a Basque woman named Catalina de Erauso, who escaped a nunnery at 18, cut off her hair, dressed as a man, and jumped aboard a ship bound for the new world. She rose to the rank of “alférez” (lieutenant), while living “the fantastic life of a conquistador, gambler and swashbuckler.”

Test’s project already has garnered international attention and ultimately will lead to performances of the play for the first time in America. The Boise State Department of Theatre Arts, UCLA and McMaster University in Toronto all have expressed interest in producing the performance.

While in Spain, Test said his days will consist of waking up early to dive into books, manuscripts and letters at the Biblioteca Nacional de España, or National Library of Spain and at the Museo Nacional del Prado, or Prado Museum.

“I’ll sit in there for hours and just read, take notes and type,” said Test. “You can spend a month on a research fellowship and by the time you get to the end you have so many books you still want to see but you don’t have enough time so near the end you’re just combing through as fast as you can.”

Test said he’s excited to bring a story with contemporary ties and a Basque connection to Boise.

“There’s a very small number of scholars who know about it. But is the play known around the world? No. Especially to English speakers, that’s why I want to bring it here,” said Test.

(For the original article, click here.)

San Juan Eguna, the Basque summer solstice

When the sun sets on June 23rd, many a bonfire light up the night in almost every Basque town to celebrate San Juan Eguna, the feast of St. John the Baptist, which marks the Basque Summer Solstice.

I never really thought much about San Juan while growing up, other than it being another chance to hang out with my friends, late into the night. We were either fresh out of school, or soon to be. San Juan was the first of many summer nights I would enjoy with them, and what better way to kick off the season than surrounded by fires and drinking hot cocoa.

During San Juan, you are supposed to use the fire as a symbolic means to get rid of unpleasant past times and welcome a brighter future. Many of my friends would use their previous year’s school notes as fuel, but I always considered those actions a bit sacrilegious. Back then, I would have had to dig deep in order to find anything at all worth erasing from my memories, so I was totally content watching other people’s stuff go up in flames.

I have only thrown something into the fire once, and I wasn’t even there. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to celebrate San Juan with the kids and my family this year either, as I’m still about a week away from catching the plane that will take me home. However, I did ask my daugther to draw something she thought I would like and she promised to watch it burn for me tonight.


From this week’s Astero: Basque Government Grants for Clubs and Federations

Astero‘s weekly bulletin always brings interesting news related to the Basque Country and the Diaspora. This week, we will learn about the Basque Government Grants for Clubs and Federations.

The call for 2017 grants for Basque clubs and federations appeared in the Official Bulletin of the Basque Country yesterday. These Basque club grants, in support of operating expenses, activities, and infrastructure during 2017 enjoy a total budget is 902,307 Euros.

The budget is divided in the following way:

  • 782,307 Euros allocated to Chapter IV activities (i.e. operating and activities)
  • 120,000 Euros for Chapter VII activities which includes capital improvements to clubhouses and infrastructure

Deadline to apply is July 21, 2017. The Resolution can be found in Basque here, and in Spanish here.

If you would like to have Astero, NABO’s weekly bulletin, sent directly to your inbox, you only have to fill out this form.

Did you know that today is the 30th anniversary of the very first Jaialdi?

Jaialdi 2020 organizers would like to know where you were in 1987, while the first Jaialdi ever was going on at the Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise. Jaialdi was originally going to be a one-off festival — now, it’s tradition!

As Annie Gavica, director of the Basque Museum, puts it: “Though locations, leadership, number of attendees and more has changed in those thirty years, one thing has stayed true – the incredible Basque Community in Boise working together to preserve Basque culture in the United States. BRAVO to those that had the foresight to create such an amazing event, ESKERRIK ASKO to those that work countless hours to keep it going, and ZORIONAK to Boise, Euzkaldunak and everyone involved for keeping this party going.”

Go to Jaialdi 2020’s Facebook page and let them know what you were doing during Jaialdi 87!

The World’s Largest Celebration of Basque Culture | Boise, ID

Jaialdi refers to a festival in the Basque Language (Euskara). This festival exhibits the Basque culture with dancing (dantzan) and musical (musika) performances, sporting (kirol) events, and authentic food (jateko) and drink (edateko). The Basque people are known for their merriment, and Jaialdi showcases these characteristics well.

Jaialdi was first celebrated in 1987 at the Old Idaho State Penitentiary as a one time weekend event to educate the public about the Basque culture. Jaialdi ‘87 attracted approximately 30,000 visitors who thoroughly enjoyed the event, the location, and the opportunity to be part of the Basque activities. The festival was so popular that Governor Cecil Andrus asked the local Basque community to put on another celebration to help celebrate Idaho’s Centennial in 1990.

After Jaialdi ’90, it was decided that the Jailaldi would continue to be held in Boise every five years on a rotational basis with four other Basque clubs throughout the United States. Jaialdi has been held in Boise in: 1987, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and the 2015 is being planned. Jaialdi has become so popular that the event had to be moved from the Old Idaho State Penitentiary to the Western Idaho Fairgrounds to accommodate over 40,000 guests. This event is always held on the last weekend of July, which coincides with the Basque community of Boise’s celebration of their patron saint, San Ignacio of Loyola.

(From LocalWiki.org)

Siri’s voice (in Spanish) is Basque!

(The following is a translation from an article originally published in Spanish by El Correo on June 16, 2017, and the video was published on EITB’s website on June 14, 2017. I apologize in advance for any mistakes. It was a somewhat long article, so I decided on a collaborative effort between Google Translate and I.)

Iratxe Gómez, a native of Zamudio residing in Vitoria, is behind Apple’s remote assistance service for its mobile devices and several GPS devices

“Siri, where are you from?” “Apple designed me in California,” says the application in a monotone voice. But the truth is that the voice providing remote assistance services in iPhone and iPad devices was born in the Biscayan town of Zamudio 43 years ago. Her name is Iratxe Gómez, and her warm and cordial diction has made her the most frequent interlocutor in telephones, cars, and many other remote assistance services throughout the country.


For a long time, Iratxe completely ignored that millions of Apple users were talking to her every day. When you record locutions or allophones ―the sounds with which a computer then constructs words― you generally do not know what your final destination will be. One day, watching television, a magician did a trick in which he used one of the brand’s phonesas an assistant. Hearing the voice on the iPhone, she discovered it was her own.

This English teacher living in the outskirts of Vitoria and who has been unemployed since May, has been making incursions into an activity that, although part of our daily life, it is still a stranger. Initially, her mastery of languages landed her a jobs in a call center for international mailings or in an online banking service, where she made locutions in Spanish and English.

Later, she helped develop an automated text converter, and from there she went on to put her voice on GPS systems for high-end vehicles. “They wanted it to sound more natural.” Years later, her husband bought a new car and what was his surprise when he realized that it was his wife who gave him directions. “Now he turns off the navigator to avoid putting up with me twice,” she jokes.

The same company that set up millions of combinations to guide drivers, then ‘sold’ her voice to Apple, who incorporated it into their devices for Spain. In the transaction she did not see a dime, although her voice is now infinitely more popular. “I was a bit puzzled, but the company argued that my copyright had expired.” With or without compensation, she is now the most frequent interlocutor of millions of Spaniards.

“I find my voice everywhere.” When she calls to make an appointment at the doctor, she hears her voice. Same thing when calling for information on taxes. “When my sister-in-law enters the garage, she ‘talks’ to me.” The list of anecdotes is endless. “Living in China, I did not master the language and sometimes I got stuck. Once, the person I was talking with pulled out their cell phone to translate something into Spanish with a voice application and… it was me! ”

What’s so special about her voice? She does not know for sure, but she remembers that her vocal talents have always impressed others. It may have something to do with her being raised in her mother’s sewing workshop, where the radio was constantly on. “I was always struck by the way the old broadcasters spoke, the radio soap operas,” she recalls. By the time a teacher first put her to read in class, her diction left him in awe.

“I’ve always been told that I read very well, but I did not think any of it.” Iratxe has earned her living mainly as an English teacher. “But it’s true that the younger students fall asleep when I read a story to them, I imagine they like it because it sounds soothing, calm.” And that’s what a remote assistance service looks for. Listening to her in the car or on the phone, her six-year-old son “believes that in every home things have the voice of the mother, who knows everything.” He still does not know that his mother is Siri.

Iratxe Gómez @ Voltaico

“Basque code talkers” in World War II monograph (in Spanish) available on June 15

On June 15, 2017, “Saibigain” digital magazine will present its third installment, which focusses on “Basque code talkers” and the use of the Basque language during World War II. The magazine is published by “Sancho de Beurko Association,” a Basque homeland-based non-profit organization dedicated to the historical memory of the Basque people who fought in the Spanish Civil War and World War II.In this issue, authors Pedro J. Oiarzabal and Guillermo Tabernilla, hope to shed light on one of the most intensely mytholigized subjects related to Basque involvement in the war.

The magazine, which is published only in Spanish (for now), can be downloaded free of charge in PDF format from its website: Saibigain Magazine.

Previous installments include the biographies of 213 people of Basque origin from Nevada who served in the U.S. military during World War II, and Bilbao’s Museum of War (both in Spanish).

For more on Pedro Oiarzabal, click here.