New Book: ETA: Estimated Time of Arrest by Delphine Pontvieux

pontvieux-etaDelphine Pontvieux, a member of the forum, has just released her novel ETA: Estimated Time of Arrest


After participating in a pro-separatist march that turned violent in January of 1992, 21-year-old Lorenzo Lartaun Izcoa is wrongly charged with the fatal bombing of a police station in his home town. Irun is a small city located in the heart of the Basque country, trapped between France and Spain, and struggling for independence. Lartaun finds himself on the Spanish Secret Service’s “most wanted” list, branded an active member of the Basque terrorist group ETA.

He has no choice but to flee his country.

Two years later, Lartaun’s childhood friend bursts back into his life. In exchange for a “small favor,” he offers him a passport and the chance to return to Europe under a new identity. Lartaun seizes the opportunity.


Back in Europe, hiding away in a commune in the French Pyrenees Mountains, Lartaun meets Faustine, a young French environmentalist. As their relationship renews his belief in a future worth fighting for, Lartaun realizes, albeit too late, that the favor he owes his friend is not so “small” after all.


Fermin Muguruza, well-known Basque musician and film maker, writes about Estimated Time of Arrest: “A beloved homeland, mountainous landscapes, devotion, action, love, celebration, friendship, music, commitment, vengeance, dignity, and desire for freedom and independence all turn out to be explosive ingredients when mixed together and left to simmer in the pressure cooker known as the Basque Country. Also called Euskal Herria, it is a place that spans the south of France and the north of Spain. It is the country of the Basque people, those who speak Euskara, the Basque language.

Delphine Pontvieux is a connoisseur of the essential ingredients that comprised the Basque Country in the ‘80s and ‘90s. If we add her to the mix as “etxekoandre,” or Executive Chef, the recipe becomes perfect, stewing over her creative flame. She brings Estimated Time of Arrest to a mouthwatering emotional flavor, serving a complex dish of literary mastery.”

Interior art is by Guillermo Zubiaga, who was interviewed on this site back in 2007.

More information can be found on Delphine’s site

Badok: Basque music online

argazki200Jose Antonio Alcayaga III just posted this link on Facebook and it seemed like a great one to share.  Badok has a relatively large selection of Basque music available for online listening and I understand that songs can be downloaded in mp3 format.

This seems like a great way to explore Basque music.  It looks like there is a large range of styles, from folk like Oskorri to metal bands such as Su Ta Gar.  And the artists seem to span a range of time, including classics from Kortatu.  Not everything is on here, as I don’t see any Negu Gorriak for example, but there is still a large number of groups to explore.

Thanks for sharing Jose!

New Book: Gardeners of Identity by Pedro Oiarzabal

oiarzabal-gardnersPedro Oiarzabal, a newly minted researcher at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, has spent his young career focused on issues of Basque identity around the world.  His newest book is Gardeners of Identity: Basques in the San Francisco Bay Area, published by the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.  (Incidentally, the Center’s bookstore is now online.)

This new book brings attention to the Basque community in northern California.  As described in the cover excerpt:

For many out-of-town visitors, San Franciscans, and Basques throughout the American West the book will bring back fond memories of many of the Basque inns, restaurants, bars and cafés that for the most have vanished from today’s city landscape. However, these fine establishments have not entirely disappeared from their memories and pages of history as illustrated in this book. For others, the book will open a colorful window into the history of some of the most singular and oldest inhabitants of San Francisco. It depicts the Bay Area Basque cultural, linguistic, and religious traditions in a superb manner.

Zorionak Pedro!

The full press release follows: Continue reading

Commemoration of the bombing of Gernika amongst the Basque diaspora

I received this request for assistance from Daniel Clarke, who needs help researching how the diaspora commemorated the bombing of Gernika.  Feel free to write Daniel directly or to post your comments here.

Dear all,

I am a student at the University of Cambridge, England, working as part of a project looking at memory, heritage and identity in post-conflict situations, with five case studies around Europe (

Specifically, I am working in Gernika – based at the ‘Gernika Gogoratuz’ peace research centre – examining the way in which memory of its destruction in the Civil War has persisted through the years.

Particularly given the difficulty of open commemoration in the Basque Country itself during the dictatorship, I am interested in what kinds of transmission of memory were taking place amongst the Basque diaspora.

I would love to hear about any such practices within the community, either public commemorative events, programmes, monuments etc., or simply reflections on the ways in which the memory of the event has been transmitted unofficially through family customs etc.

I am particularly interested in the situation pre-1976 (when the public commemorations appear to begin in Gernika), but information on such activities in any period would be much appreciated – if possible including when they were started, by whom etc.

Eskerrik asko!

Daniel Clarke (

Along the Basque Coast

During my last trip to Euskal Herria, I made a point of traveling from Munitibar, where my dad is from and where I was staying, to Donosti via the coast.  It’s a trip I’ve made several times in the past and well worth the cost of a rental car, but this time I tried to take pictures of the towns along the way.  I started at Ondarroa, passing through Mutriku and Deba, with a small detour to Elorriaga in the mountains, on to Zumaia and Getaria (home of Juan Sebastian de Elcano, the first person to circumnavigate the world), missing Zarautz (I went through Zarautz but because they were having their fiesta, there was no easy place to park for a photo), on through Orio and finally reaching Donosti.  I returned via Mount Igeldo and took a picture of the landscape beyond Igeldo, along a very small and windy road.

These pictures then represent about maybe one third of the Basque coast, missing west of Ondarroa (including Bermeo, Lekeitio, and Portugalete; I’ve been to several, but haven’t done the drive along the coast there) and east of Donosti, into France, again, a route I haven’t driven.



The King’s Way

kings-way.2Jon Zuazo, a friend of mine in Munitibar, Bizkaia, just finished renovating his family’s ancestral baserri, Aixabide. He has taken pains to use as much of the original wood as possible, beams that are literally hundreds of years old. In showing me his house, he recounted some of the history, a history that I found both intriguing and very interesting.

The baserri has been rebuilt at least twice since it’s founding. The exact date when the original baserri was founded isn’t clear, but it existed at least since 1366. It was originally called Ajorabide, or Ajora’s Way. Ajora was a Basque female name in that era. The baserri was founded with the permission of the local lord, as it was along one of what were known as the Caminos Reales or, in Basque, Errege Bideak, or the King’s Ways. These were roads with special importance for the local economy, in this case, that connected the coast with the interior. Wine was transported from the interior to the coast, and fish was transported in the opposite direction.

Oxen were used to transport the cargo. It turns out that oxen move at the same speed, regardless of the terrain. Thus, these roads were built to be the most direct route between the interior and the coast, going up and over the mountains rather than around. Furthermore, as a team of oxen went the same speed, in a day they went a given distance. At the time, there were lots of, literally, highway robbery and it wasn’t safe for teams to remain outdoors at night. Thus, at inkings-way.1tervals of distances that could be traversed in one day, houses were established at which the teams could stay. At these houses, for a fee, the oxen could be fed and rested and even replaced with a fresh team. For a further fee, the men themselves could find room and board. One of these houses was Ajorabide.

Remnants of these roads can still be seen in the mountains of Euskal Herria. One passes near Munitibar, near Aixabide. Today, it looks like a very deep trench scarred into the earth, overgrown with vegetation, as shown in the two photos. At one time, however, these roads were the lifeblood of trade in Euskal Herria, and more than one baserri was established to facilitate that trade.

The new millennium in Basque music — a decade of delights

Euskal Musika, (Basque-language pop, rock and folk) has flourished for four decades, but the past 10 years have seen a musical and lyrical maturing. With the end of the era dominated by Negu Gorriak, Hertzainak and Itoiz, Basque music searched for a new touchstone identity and came up with a multitude of them. In this Guest Column, David Cox examines Basque music of the last decade and offers his top ten list of the very best.

Those who have visited Buber’s Basque Page in the past know of David Cox’s passion for Basque music.  He has contributed a number of Guest Columns focused on various aspects of Basque music in the past.  This article touches on some of the best music the Basque Country has to offer.  David has found several links to YouTube videos that showcase some of the very best.  This article is a great starting place to sample the richness and variety of Basque music.

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