A Basque in Boise

Astero Weekly Bulletin: SSFCC Jaialdia, Menditarrak, and International Mus

Astero’s weekly bulletin always brings interesting news related to the Basque Diaspora. This week, we learn about the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center Jaialdia, how you can enjoy Menditarrak in Gardnerville, and information about International Mus.

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

San Francisco Basque Cultural Center Jaialdia

SFBCCThis weekend the San Francisco Basque Cultural Centerwill be celebrating its annual Jaialdia August 26-28th. The weekend will include a wide range of activities, along with the NABO Pilota Finals that will be held on Friday and Saturday. The Center is happy to welcome singers and musicians Menditarrak from the Basque Country. This group, comprised of sheepherders and sons of sheepherders, will provide singing entertainment for all to enjoy. After Saturday night’s dinner, Beñat and Jean Louis, also from the Basque Country, will provide music for everyone’s dancing pleasure. For complete information about the weekend, including meal prices, please visit their website.


MenditarrakMenditarrak at J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room

If you are unable to travel to San Francisco this weekend you’ll have another chance to enjoy Menditarrak on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at the J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room in Gardnerville, NV. Dinner is served from 5-9pm and everyone is welcome to enjoy an evening with the group, along with a great Basque meal. For more information please visit them on Facebook.

International Mus

cmteThe Territorial Commission on Mus in Euskadi, hosts of this year’s International Mus Championships in Donostia October 8-15, 2016, have contracted Equinoccio Viajes to handle all of the travel and lodging arrangements for the event. They have just let us know that a 10% discount is now available for people wishing to attend, if you travel with Iberia. This offer is only valid for individuals, not groups. To make a reservation or get more information on the deal, please visit Equinoccio’s website.

Song of the Basque, an article from The Basque Museum & Cultural Center

The Song of the Basque was a Basque musical production developed by Jay Uberuaga Hormaechea for the Boise Music Week in 1949. The success of the first night was so great that many people could not get in the auditorium of Boise High School. The night after the first show on May 8, 1949, the Music week director asked Jay to repeat the show on May 18. The next year it would be repeated again and a record of the show was made.

Song of the Basque was not simply a successful show, according to Professor Dave Lachiondo, “It was the definitive and unanimous recognition from the Boise community of the Basque presences in Idaho.”


Jay Uberuaga, Chairman of the program. (Courtesy of the Basque Museum)

The first Basque dance group in Idaho was created in Emmett in the 1940’s due to Basque parents’ concern about the inability of younger Basques to perform ethnic dances. During those years, the annual Sheepherders Balls, and other dance performances were coming into play, like the International Program presented by the Columbian Club. By 1948, Juanita Uberuaga Aldrich Hormaechea, known as Jay Hormaechea, started giving dancing lessons to the Basque children of Boise. Later on these children would grow to become the first Oinkari dancers. Through those early efforts, Jay was the key to the future of Basque dancing in Boise and surrounding areas. She was also the first to produce an entire dancing and music performance for the Music Week Festival with the entire Basque community of Boise taking part.

The production

Float in the 1949 parade (Courtesy of the Basque Museum)

Float in the 1949 parade (Courtesy of the Basque Museum)

The production was directed by Juanita Uberuaga after her experience teaching traditional dances to Boise’s Basque youth. However, without the help of many Basque protagonists, the show would not have been possible. Pete Leguineche served as narrator for the show and a very young and talented Rosita Alegria, daughter of the later famous broadcaster, Espe Alegria, painted the backdrop.

Among the performers were Mrs. Phil Uberuaga as a soprano, Miss Angela Bicandi  and Miss Valen Letemendi on accordion, Antonio Villanueva and Ramon Aspiri on trumpets, the brothers Joe and Domingo Ansotegui, the Ysursa and the Anchustegui families, playing and singing well-known songs, Joe Anacabe, the Murelaga sisters with four year old Mary Murelaga singing and Josephine on accordion, and also Henry Alegria with his wife Espe. A special young men’s group called Los Borrachos was made up of Tony, Louie and Jimmy Jausoro as well as Julian Lachiondo, Johnny Elorriaga and Ramon Echevarria.

Although these were the most notable performers the entire cast of 200 performed with style and enthusiasm and credit was also given to those who worked behind the scenes to make the show possible.

A Basque parade on the streets of Boise with floats, dancers and musicians kicked off the performances both in 1949 and 1950.

For the complete history, pictures, and audio recordings from the performance, check Song of the Basque at The Basque Museum and Cultural Center’s webpage.


2016 NABO Pilota Finals

The 2016 NABO Pilota Finals will take place August 26-27th at the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center during its annual Jaialdia. Men and women teams from Bakersfield, Boise, Chino, and San Francisco will compete in various disciplines over the two days.

For complete information, see below:


For any questions, please email Teresa Iparraguirre, NABO Pilota Chairperson.

Good luck, everybody!

(Thanks Astero for the reminder! To have Astero, NABO’s weekly bulletin, sent directly to your inbox, you only have to fill out this form.)


Morning newspaper ILLUS.jpgI arrived to work this morning with a feeling I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I got to here and I wanted to write! There was this little fire, well, spark really, daring me to open up the blog and get right to it. This summer, I found happiness amidst the sucky situation that is living apart from half the people I love. Feeling warm and fuzzy inside has always driven me to (over)share. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for you guys), I made the mistake of looking at Facebook before I set out to count my blessings.

I have been told before that hiding from the ugliness in the world will not help make it better, that one has to know in order to make a change. I rarely go past the headlines on war tragedies or violent crimes, but it’s more for protection than not caring. Besides, I don’t need to read the details by which thousands of people now live in dire straits, or how exactly the family friend took advantage of the little boy. Simply knowing that it happened can be enough to bring me to tears. Then, I take the anger and sadness and use it to educate my kids on the importance of not being an asshole.

I don’t understand the obsession with needing to know every single disgusting detail of someone else’s nightmare. Lately, several Spanish newspapers are having a field trip disclosing Whatsapp messages from the five assholes who raped a 19-year old woman inside her building last July during San Fermines. I don’t know more than what I unwillingly read when the headlines showed up on my feed this morning. I find it hard to believe that anybody needs to delve further into the particulars to imagine the hell these pricks put her through. If you need that to empathize, you suck. She was used and humiliated once in that hallway. Now, thanks to the media, she gets to be fucked again, this time in front of the whole country.

And now that we have taken away whatever dignity this woman had left, let’s all go back to reading memes on Cabronazi.

From Bilbao to El Abra: A video recording from 1961

Once again, our About Basque Country friends have brought to our attention another cool story related to Euskal Herria. I found this one even more special because it revolves about my favorite city in the world: Bilbao.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Belgian born Raymond Fontaine would collected images from the places he visited. This is an 11-minute recording from 1961 of a walk he took from Bilbao to El Abra, where we can see images from Bilbao’s City Hall, the Ría, El Abra, the road from Bilbao to Zorroza, Getxo, and Portugalete.

What a wonderful thing to see the places where I grew up, before I was even an idea in my parents’ future plans!

(You can read the original article in Spanish on the About Basque Country’s website. Also, there is recording from the same period, but of Iparralde, which you can watch here.)

If you ever wanted to teach Basque abroad, this might be your chance

Training to teach Basque abroad


The University of the Basque Country (Office of the Vicerector for Graduate Studies and International Relations) will offer, in collaboration with the Etxepare Basque Institute, a training course aimed at readers of Basque language in universities and centers of higher education abroad.

The main objective of the course, that be held on October 14 – November 26 in Donostia (Friday 16:00 to 20:20, Saturday 9:00 to 13:20), is to complete the training of teachers of Euskera as a foreign language.  The registration period will be open on September 8-  October 13.

Information (in Spanish): http://www.ehu.eus/es/web/nazioarteko-harremanak/etxepare

Program (in Basque): PROGRAMA.pdf

Please contact the University of the Basque Country or Etxepare Institute if you have questions or need additional information.



Basque Language Classes start back up in the Fall at Boise’s Basque Museum


The Basque Museum & Cultural Center offers classes in Euskara, the Basque language.

Children’s Classes
The Basque Museum holds Euskara classes for children on Tuesday evenings 6-6:45 pm, prior to Euzkaldunak’s Boiseko Gazteak Basque dance practice. Classes begin in October and continue through March. Cost is $50 per child for both semesters or $30 per semester.

Adult Classes 
Classes are open to all adults who desire to study Euskara, the Basque language. An interactive curriculum, as well as passionate teachers, can help those interested in learning or continuing with this unique language. Join this great language community!

Please contact Meggan Laxalt at 208-343-2671 or meggan@basquemuseum.com for more information and to enroll.

Fall Semester 2016
Language classes for adults are Monday nights from 6 to 8 pm at the Basque Museum.
The fall semester begins August 22 and ends December 12, 2016.
There is no class on Labor Day, September 5, and during Thanksgiving week.
(Spring semester will begin again in January 2017, dates TBD)
Fees: $65 per semester for members and $80 per semester for non-members.

For more information on Adult Language Classes, visit the links below:

Beginner Euskara
Upper Beginner
Intermediate Euskara
Advanced Euskara


This is an Internet-based study program. It is designed to guide students in the study of Euskara from the most elementary level to a high level of proficiency. In addition, students will gain significant knowledge of Basque culture and geography. Its easy to use format makes it a very enjoyable and easy way to learn Basque. The only requirements are that they have access to the Internet, have a PC (will not function on a Mac) and want to learn!

Visit Boise’s Basque Museum website at http://basquemuseum.com for more information.

Basque BSU intern looking for host family in Boise from Sept-Dec 2017


It looks like Boise is becoming more and more popular among young Basque students wanting to round up their education and expand their work experience, while sharpening their English language skills and enjoy all the friendliness and good times the city and its people have to offer.

This time, Miren, a 23 year old girl from Pamplona, is looking a host family that will host her a few months at the end of this year, from September to December 2017.

You can get in touch with her by email at miren.iturri@hotmail.com.

In her own words

Hello families! I am Miren Iturri, 23 years old Basque student from Pamplona (Spain). Actually, I am studying a master called “Spanish like Foreign Language in Professional Fields” in Barcelona.

From September to December I have to do my internship as a Spanish teacher in a college and I have decided to do in Boise. There are many reasons why I want to go there but the most important one is because I am Basque and I would like to live a Basque experience out of Basque Country. For me is very strange that Basque language is spoken in United Stated but at the same time it is awesome to know there is a bit of my culture across the Atlantic.

The only thing that I need is a family that welcomes me at home. I have enough experience living with other family because I have been living three months in Australia like AuPair. I was taking care of three sweets kids and it was an incredible experience. We enjoyed together and sometimes, I teach them some Spanish and Basque. In addition, before studying this master, I have studied Primary Education and I have to tell you that I love kids and also teaching.

If you want to have fun, have a different experience and learn some languages, I am here to teach you. I would love to repeat that experience and to grow up as a person and professional.

Thank you so much!

Real Soccer Club is looking for families to host Basque students this sumer

Summer in Idaho is a great thing to experience. Maybe you’d like to share it with a foreign exchange student with the Basque Country?

Real Soccer Club is looking for three families to host a student. The students come from the Bilbao area in the Basque Country, and they will stay in Idaho from June 29th through July 26th.

So go ahead, read on, and then click on the following link to start the process:

Register Now to Explore Hosting a Student from Spain 

If you have additional questions, please contact Juanjo Carmona Serradilla at 208-713-8924 or kuintela@msn.com.

Real Soccer Club Vison

The Club is committed to supporting and spreading the word about the rich history of the Basque culture in Idaho and in the world. They accomplish this by:

(1) Enabling their soccer club families as well as other members of our community to host students from the Basque Country. (They partnered in 2011 with a Basque organization called Larrabetzu Cultural Exchanges, located in Larrabetzu near Bilbao, to help us implement the Exchanges).

real-soccer-cronw-logo-generic and Larabetzu Logo

(2) Educating interested families about the Basque culture via specific cultural activities during the exchanges, for example visits and guided tours to the Basque Museum in Boise.

(3) Giving opportunities to our soccer players, their families, and other interested member of our community to visit the Basque country so they can experience first hand the wonderful Basque culture and people.

Considerations when hosting a student

  • Hosting families will receive 300 Euros (about $330 — check current rates) to help with their hosting expenses!! Current, or former Real Soccer families or their friends can host!
  • Students are fully insured
  • If you go on vacation or a short trip, they can go with you as well.
  • This is a great chance to expose these kids to the American culture & our incredible outdoors. Experiencing the american culture and improving their English skills are the main objectives of this trip for these students.
  • Our kids will have the opportunity to relate to students from another culture & build new friendships.

Students’ profiles

Ane (Girl, 14)

I’m Ane Goikoetxea, and I´m 14 years old. I live in a house in the Basque Country. My house is not like a farm, but my father has a small vineyard and we have a big garden with different types of flowers, trees and so on…

Read more about Ane

Uxue (Girl, 15)

HELLO, My name is Uxue and I´m 15 years old (This year I´m turning 16). I live in Lazkao, a little town from the Basque Country.
I like to be active. I´ve been attending to Basque dance Classes since i was 5, and I still continue. I also love hiking

Read more about Uxue

Lide (Girl, 15)

My name is Lide Billelabeitia, I am 15 years old girl and this summer I will be traveling to Boise to improve my English and learn about your culture.
I live in a little town called “Mungia” in the Basque Country, which is in the North of Spain (Europe). I know that in the 20 th century, Basque people emigrated to Idaho to work as shepherds and nowadays you have a museum about our culture also.

Read more about Lide

A complete overview of the Exchange Program can be accessed on the Real Soccer Club website.

Boise and Bilbao: A pair of Boomtowns, by Scot Ludwig (Idaho Statesman)

Boise and Bilbao: A pair of Boomtowns

Scot Ludwig |Guest opinion

Scot Ludwig |Guest opinion

What if a technology wiz from Bilbao who fell in love with Boise during a visit hatched the next eBay or Google right here? This is a real possibility, and it is anchored to the historic connections between our two cities and regions. Since 1890, there has been an economic relationship between Boise and the Basque Country, when the valley relied heavily on sheepherders from the Basque region of Spain to work on the burgeoning sheep industry. Over 100 years later, Boise continues to renew those bonds with events like the Basque Soccer Friendly and Jaialdi last summer that celebrated Basque sports, culture and heritage and in doing so strengthened the bridge between our two regions. Today, we stand poised to deepen this longstanding economic and cultural exchange with a partnership dedicated to enhancing the lives of Bilbainos and Boiseans alike.

Recently, a delegation of officials and business leaders from the Basque province of Bizkaia traveled to Boise to champion the past, and more importantly, the future of economic partnerships between Boise and Bilbao. I learned from Asier Alea Castaños, General Manager of the Trade Promotion for the Bizkaian Government, that there are currently one million people living in metropolitan Bilbao and its GDP per capita is an impressive 122 percent of the European Union (EU) average. To support the highly industrialized economy, its universities develop more science and technology professionals than the rest of Europe, and Bizkaia is the top ranked research, development and innovation (R+D+I) region in all of Spain. Bizkaia prides itself on its culture of innovation.

In Boise, it’s clear to see we are experiencing substantial growth of our own with cranes across our downtown cityscape, receiving recognition as a “techy boomtown” with projects like Trailhead and the reality that we provide innovators and entrepreneurs an environment in which the cost of doing business is nearly one-third less than doing so in California or Washington. In Bilbao, some of the main industries are aeronautics, automotive, electronic and information technologies, energy, and maritime. In Boise, our major business clusters are analytics software, environmental technology, advanced energy, hi-tech manufacturing, hardware assembly, national call centers and agricultural technology. With the many corresponding industries and similarly innovative mentalities, the possibilities for economic development benefiting both Boise and Bilbao are endless.

Leaders in both regions also realize that great cities depend upon outstanding universities. Currently, Boise State University recruits and the Basque Government funds Ph.D. students from the Basque Country to study and conduct research in the BSU College of Engineering. Additionally, each year, there are over 600 students who complete coursework focused on Basque related topics at Boise State. The development of an international perspective is quickly becoming an essential element of education in the increasingly interdependent economy. This global emphasis highlights the need to further develop a collaborative network. Recently, university officials and Bizkaia representatives met to discuss potential collaborations to enhance economic development in both regions.

The synergy between Boise and Bilbao is intensifying. This can only mean good things for the boomtowns of Boise and Bilbao. We need to celebrate more than Basque dance, music and sport. Both Boise and Bilbao are entrepreneurial dynamic societies. Economic developments are on the horizon.

Scot M. Ludwig has a law practice based in Boise and is a member of the Boise City Council.

(Original article here)