San Francisco Basques to celebrate Nafarroa

The Basque Educational Organization is sponsoring the Day of Navarra – Nafarroaren Eguna — with lectures and activities all related to the region where many of California’s Basque immigrants originated. The event, to be held Saturday Nov. 5 at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco, will feature numerous speakers from the Center of Basque Studies in Reno.

An alternative rock trikitixa band Gose, from the Basque Country, will perform in the evening. The trio is formed by Ines Osinaga (singer and trikitixa), Iñaki Bengoa (percussion and programming) and Osoron (guitarist and bassist) of Gipuzkoa. Gose’s music merges accordion and electronic funk.

Modern trikitixa band Gose from Arrasate-Mondragon
Modern trikitixa band Gose from Arrasate-Mondragon

Among the day’s lectures are “Navarre: History of Battles, Wine and Roses,” by PhD student Tania Arriaga; “How Cultivating Your Family Tree Can Help You See the Forest,” by Dr. Lisa Corcostegui; and “Painting Navarre Today,” by Dr. Zoe Bray.

The provinces of Nafarroa, Spain and Nafarroa Beherea, France were once one. The BEO decided to organize this event on the eve of 2012, noted director Philippe Acheritogaray, because it’s the 500-year anniversary of the conquest of the independent kingdom of Navarre by Castile and its division into Navarre and Lower Navarre.

The two sides of Nafarroa share a long, complex history with regard to the Basques. The people from both sides of the border speak the same Basque dialect. Spain’s Nafarroa is traditionally considered part of the Basque region, although Euskera is spoken only in the mountainous area near the border. However, when the Spanish government offered regional autonomy to several areas of the country in 1978, Navarra chose to remain its own autonomous region, separate from the political entity of Euskadi.

The idea behind the Cultural Center event is “to bring the two parts of what was once a whole kingdom back together – at least spiritually,” said Acheritogaray. Nafarroaren Eguna is based on an annual spring event with the same name, held in the town of Baigorri.

The first lecture starts at 1 p.m. at the cultural center, located at 599 Railroad Ave.

In the afternoon, the BEO will also show a short film, “Maurizio eta Felix ezin Atzendu,” a tribute to the txistulari and drummer duo Maurizio Elizalde and Felix Iriarte of Nafarroa. In addition, the San Francisco dance group Zazpiak Bat will perform dances from the Nafarroa region.

The Basque Cultural Center will serve dinner at 7 p.m. Diners will be able to choose from Confit de Canard (duck legs), Chicken Cordon Bleu or Roast New York. Dinner is $30, children are $10. The Gose concert will follow at 9:30 p.m.

Gose will also be performing in San Francisco at the Plough and the Stars (116 Clement St.) on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m., and at Sub-Mission (2183 Mission St.) on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 8:00pm. They travel to Boise the following weekend, to play at the Basque Center (601 Grove St.) on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Gose, from the Basque Country