Altxor Bila by David Cox: Gaueko Lan Musika: Basque music and links with kindred peoples

It is interesting to compare the role that music plays among peoples who are considered national minorities.

Given the obvious commonality of interest, it’s surprising how few of these links are easily uncovered. Basques have survived because of their historical cultural isolation, which is now changing. The situation of being outnumbered in one’s own land, or of seeking greater political jurisdiction, is one shared by hundreds of peoples worldwide. These links are often expressed in popular music – one of the key vehicles for the transmission of culture.

Since the 60s many Basques have realized how important it is to sing in their own language and to play their own traditional music and instruments. And many musicians who are speakers of lesser-used languages have done the same.

The most obvious links for Basque musicians are those within Western Europe and North Africa as well as those with Quebecers and aboriginal peoples in North America.

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Today in Basque History: Truce of Orthez, End of Civil War, Basque Cyclist Born

1513: An agreement is signed between Ferdinand the Catholic and Louis XII of France. Mistakenly referred to as the Truce of Orthez, Louis XII agrees to abandon the cause of the dethroned king of Nafarroa Juan de Albret. Ferdinand the Catholic orders the Marquis of Comares to occupy all of Behe-Nafarroa.

1939: General Franco officially ends the Spanish Civil War, after the fall of Madrid, the last city still resisting the Nationalist forces. Franco proclaimed victory via a radio broadcast. After the war, there were harsh reprisals against Franco’s former enemies.

1977-04-011977: Haimar Zubeldia, cyclist, is born in Usurbil, Gipuzkoa. He debuted as a professional in March, 1998, as part of the Euskadi-Euskaltel team. In 2003, his third time participating in the Tour de France, he finished in fifth place.

Today in Basque History: Treaty of Briones, Conspiracy against Magellan, Governor of Chile, Durango is Bombed, Pact of Baiona

1379: Carlos II of Nafarroa, “the Bad,” is forced to sign the Treaty of Briones between Castilla and Nafarroa, in which Castilla is given several cities for 10 years and Carlos promises not to marry any of his children to English royalty.

1520: Magellan’s expedition reaches the San Julian river, on the coast of what is now Argentina. It is here that some of Magellan’s crew begins to conspire against him, and the Gipuzkoan Juan de Elorriaga, master of the ship Trinidad, is killed.

1656: Juan Andres de Ustariz is born in Narvarte, Nafarroa. In 1709, he becomes the governor of Chile.

1937-03-311937: Durango, Bizkaia, is bombed. This is the first systematic bombing of a civilian population during the Spanish Civil War. The bombing begins at 8:30 in the morning and lasts about 30 minutes. The bombing continues in the afternoon. It is estimated that 130 people died directly in the bombing and another 110 died as a consequence within a few days. Many survivors flee to Gernika, which is bombed about one month later. Otxandio, in the south of Bizkaia, and Elorrio are also bombed on this day.

1945: The pact of Baiona is signed, in which all of the political and labor organizations declare their support for the Basque Government, now in exile, and organize the Basque Advisory Council.

Today in Basque History: Goya, Temple of Reason, Euskal Erria in Montevideo, Creation of HAS

220px-Goya_selfportrait1746: Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes is born in Fuendetodos, Aragón. His grandparents were from Zerain, Gipuzkoa.  Goya goes on to be one of the most important romantic painters.  Besides being named First Court Painter by Charles IV, Goya chronicled the Peninsular War through his art in the series The Disasters of War.  After becoming deaf in 1792 after a sickness, his paintings take on a much darker atmosphere.  In particular, his Caprichos depicts “the innumerable foibles and follies to be found in any civilized society, and from the common prejudices and deceitful practices which custom, ignorance, or self-interest have made usual.”

1794: It is decreed that the church in Aroue, Zuberoa, be taken and that a Temple to Reason be established there. The silverware and cloth of the church is to be confiscated and sent to the district of Mauleon.

1912: The Centro Vasco Euskal Erria is founded in Montevideo, Uruguay. It was proceded by a circular entitled “Arriba Euskaros” and by the work of Euskaldunak Denak Bat, an organization founded in San Jose by Regino Galdos originally of Vallabona and Atanasio Zabala.

1974: The political party Herriko Alderdi Sozialista is founded. In 1975, it merged with Euskal Elderdi Sozialista, forming EHAS, and later HASI, a component, in 1979, of Herri Batasuna. It is founded in Baiona by the more radical wing of Enbata, including Manex Pagola, Manex Goiheneche, J.L. Davant, and Battito Larzabal.

Today in Basque History: Athletic Bilbao, ETA Executive Arrested

1903: Bilbao’s two soccer teams, Bilbao F.C. and Athletic, merge to form Athletic Club. The presidents at the time are Luis Arana of Bilbao F.C. and Jose Astorquiza of Athletic. The two clubs had established a strong rivalry since the founding of Bilbao F.C. in late 1900. However, they did join to play abroad as one team, Bizcaya.

1992: The French police, acting on information provided by the Guardia Civil, captures of the full executive of ETA (the Artapalo collective). José Luis Alvarez Santacristina “Txelis”, Francisco Mugika Garmendia “Pakito”, and Jose Arregui Erostarbe “Fitipaldi” are caught in a hamlet in the French Basque town of Bidart while holding a meeting. For the first time in the history of ETA, the leadership all fell into the hands of police at the same time.

Today in Basque History: Architect of Gernika’s Fronton

1892: Castor Uriarte Aguirreamalloa, architect and author, is born in Catabuig, Philipines. In 1937 he witnessed the German bombardment of Gernika, during which the village fronton, which he had designed, was destroyed. He later tried to get Picasso’s Guernica moved to Gernika without success.

Today in Basque History: King of Nafarroa, Aberri Eguna, Bombing of Iparralde, Basque Music, Basque Guerrilla in Philipines

1225: William, viscount of Bearn, Gabarret, and Brulhois and lord of Moncada and Castelvieil, signs an agreement with the future Theobald I of Nafarroa, Count of Champagne, to ensure him the throne of Nafarroa on the death of his uncle, Sancho the Strong.

1932: The first Aberri Eguna, or Basque National Day, is celebrated in Bilbao, in conjunction with the gold anniversary of the PNV — Partido Nacionalista Vasco. It consists of various commemorative acts, of both folkloric and political character. There is no rally at this first Aberri Eguna, though a banquet was held in the Artxanda casino.

1944: The US Air Force, in Liberator aircraft, bomb Biarritz and Anglet, targeting the airport of Parma and the railway station. However, most of the victims are civilians: 90 dead in Biarritz and 41 in Anglet. This is the most tragic event of World War II in Iparralde.

1976: The iniciative 24 ordu euskeraz is celebrated in the Anoeta velodrome in San Sebastian. More than 10,000 people attend. It is organized by Herri Irratia with participation by the Artze brothers, Bedaxagar, Lete, Knörr, Laboa, Lertxundi, Lupe, Mendibil, Oskarbi or Peio and Pantxoa and the trikitixa of Sakabi and Egañazpi, among other activities.

1981-03-271981: Higinio Uriarte Zamacona, guerrilla captain of World War II and hero of the Philipine resistance against Japanese occupation, dies. His parents were from Bizkaia. The Japanese placed a bounty on him for 100,000 pesos, dead or alive. He fought with guerrillas in the mountains until he saw an American tank with the sign “Fighting Basques”, commanded by a soldier from Idaho, originally from Leiketio.

Today in Basque History: Bank of Vizcaya, Bolivar vs Nature

1901: The Bank of Vizcaya is founded, with a capital of 15,000,000 pesetas.

1812-03-261812: A devastating earthquake hits Caracas. Simon Bolivar, the Liberator, gives relief to victims and organizes a hospital. The indomitable genius of Bolivar is revealed against fatalism. An ecclesiastical harangues the people: the earthquake is a punishment from God, we must submit to the king. Bolivar draws his sword, passes through the crowd, pushes the speaker away, stands on a pile of rubble, and addresses the people: “Nature is allied with despotism, she wants to stop us. Worse for her, we will know how to force her to obey us!”

Today in Basque History: Treaty between Nafarroa and France

1371: The Treaty of Vernon, between Charles II of Nafarroa and Charles V of France, confirms the Treaty of Normandy of 1370, whereby the King of Nafarroa should pay homage to the King of France in exchange for the barony of Montpellier. Seven years later, in 1378, hostilities renewed when two Navarrese agents were captured with plans to poison the King of France.

Today in Basque History: Basque Poet Jailed, Boise Basque Icon

1943-03-241943: Pierre d’ Arcangues, Basque poet of Arrangoitze, is jailed by the German Gestapo.

1932: Mari Carmen Totoricaguena Egurrola Albizu, founder of Anaiak Danok and Biotzetik in Idaho, is born in Gernika. She also directed a chorus of Basque children for 20 years and organized the Aberri Eguna celebrations in Boise, Idaho. She immigrated to the United States in 1951.