Tag Archives: spanish civil war

The Power of Story: An Interview with Begoña Echeverria and Annika Speer

On April 26, 1937, the Basque city of Gernika was bombed. This, and other disastrous events during the Spanish Civil War, led to thousands of Basque children being evacuated from the Basque Country. In their play, Picasso Presents Gernika, Drs. Begoña Echeverria and Annika Speer, both professors at the University of California, Riverside, explore the […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Flute and Drum, the Basque One-Person Band

Song and dance are an integral part of Basque culture. It seems that, whenever you get more than a few Basques together, they spontaneously break out in song and dance. At large dinners, whole rooms can bust out into song. At fiestas, small groups dance in the street. And where there is song and dance, […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Deiadar (Hornblower) Mountains of Bizkaia

In the movie adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, there is a scene in which the city of Gondor is being attacked and, to summon help, the so-called warning beacons of Gondor are lit. These are a series of outposts scattered across mountain peaks that are set […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Basque Money

Whether we like it or not, money makes the world go around. And it is one of the factors that gives a nation its identity. Can anyone imagine the United States without the greenback? And, that’s just one of the reasons why, for example, the United Kingdom didn’t forego the pound when it originally joined […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Olentzero, the Basque Santa Claus

In almost any Basque-themed celebration of Christmas, instead of Santa Claus, a very distinct figure appears, wearing not a bright red suit trimmed in white but rather a more mundane outfit, often a blue or black shirt with blue pants topped off with a black beret. In modern times, he is portrayed as a joyful […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Ikastolas, the Basque Schools

Basque is an ancient language, predating the Indo-European languages of Europe that surround it. Despite this long history, it is only recently that Basque has become a literary language, with a healthy, if small, corpus of written works. Perhaps even more surprising is that the formal teaching of subjects in the Basque language is not […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre

This year is the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s expedition, which culminated in Juan Sebastián Elcano becoming the first person to intentionally circumnavigate the planet. Elcano hailed from the small Basque coastal town Getaria, Gipuzkoa, just twenty-five kilometers west of Donostia/San Sebastián. However, Elcano is not the only famous son of Getaria and, in fact, isn’t […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Heresy of Durango

Durango, in the heart of Bizkaia, is one of the province’s most important towns. It is the namesake of both the city and state of Durango in Mexico and of Durango, Colorado in the United States. During its history, Durango has been involved in events such as the War of the Bands and bombing during […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Basques Immigrated to Wales

We are all familiar with the large waves of Basque migration to the Americas and Australia. But there was also a small group of Basques who immigrated to Wales, in the United Kingdom. They were recruited to the city of Dowlais, some 60 miles from Cardiff. They came to the region because of the steel […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Basque Improvisational Poetry

Bertsolaritza, or Basque Improvisational Poetry, is the art of composing, on the spot and impromptu, sung couplets about a given topic. A specific meter and rhyme must be followed. Competitions are held for the best bertsolaris, or singers of of these poems, but bertsolaris are also famous for singing impromptu at any gathering. While the […]