Across three weekends NABO action was centered in northern Nevada with
the 2006 NABO Mus Champships in Gardnerville, Nevada and then Udaleku
(Music Camp) and Kantari Eguna in Elko. It was Basque action high
desert style. Here's what you missed (or forgot).
t was rise and shine
early Friday morning (June 16th) as the Party Van (photo above) fired up
for another Basque tour de desert. This time we had three things
on the agenda--first we would hit the NABO Mus Tournament in
Gardnerville, then roll onto Elko for Udaleku right into their festival
there and then Kantari Eguna. But of course first things first, so
we carefully planned the trip to make sure we arrived at J&T Basque
Restaurant in Gardnerville just in time for dinner. Now THAT'S the
way to start a Basque marathon. Of course we burned it down, but
we didn't want to push it too hard because the next morning was the Mus
tournament and my partner, Steven Gamboa and I, wanted to be ready.
So of course we settled into a massive slumber party at the home of
Enrike & Lisa Corcostegui--thirteen of us (Udaleku instructors and some
partcipants) took over the house.
The 2006 NABO Mus champions
were Noel Erdozaincy & Raymond Lahargou (center pair) from San
Francisco. ZORIONAK! The second place team was
Manuel Villanueva & Tony Vitoria.
The winning team's sponsoring
club, the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center, will now serve
as host for the next national tournament.
Photo by Jesus Pedroarena
The cards were flying at the
Overland Hotel/Restaurant as the NABO Mus tournament began with 39 teams
vying for the prestigious championship. Okay, I admit it, it was
my first time at the national tournament but I wasn't feeling the
pressure really (I was more concerned about the Party Van that the night
before had blown its alternator). It wasn't until the sixth hand
that I saw anything higher than a jack so we didn't jump out of the box.
For the record we ended with four wins and five match losses, and we did
our part to prepare the eventual champions (Noel Erdozaincy & Raymond
Laforgou of San Francisco) for their eventual victory.
If you didn't
know, Elko is now also known for its annual "Running from the
Bulls" event that precedes the festival weekend.
shaped path is fenced off on a downtown street, and some
courageous/cracy (that's the meaning of "A Thin Red Line")
runners challenge the five or so bulls. Pictured here is
Then Sunday morning
it was time to navigate northeast to the city of Elko which this year
served as the host for arguably NABO's most
important venture: Udaleku
(Basque for "Summer Camp"). Formerly known as Music Camp, the name
change came about a few years ago to 1) give it a Basque name to remind us of the
foundation of the Basque language and 2) to better reflect the wide
array of things that participants learn about across this two-week event
as illustrated by our Udaleku bull/cow theme (drawn
by instructor Garikoitz Otamendi):
Udaleku is about work and
play--that is about
Recreate + Educate = Perpetuate
labor intensive, Udaleku's overall objective is not rocket-science: the
primary goal is to offer kids ages 10-15 an an opportunity to learn
about different aspects of Basque culture with the hope that they might
make a positive connection with their Basque heritage. It is this
positive connection that holds the key to the endurance of Basqueness in
America. While Udaleku has now been restricted to younger kids,
NABO is presently at work on preparing a program for Basque young
adults with the same objective: getting younger Basques to positively
connect with their Basque heritage. See
A1.11 Gaztealdi: Basque
young adult assembly
The successful Elko Udaleku & Kantari Eguna was due in large part
to the great work of Elko's Bob Echeverria and Anita (Anacabe) Franzoia
and the local volunteers who came to work and the host families
who kept kids in their homes.
because of people like these that NABO's Udaleku continues.
I have only just recovered
from the "Udaleku Haze." This strikes participants and instructors
alike and symptoms include: loss of a sense of time as the days
begin to blur together; a slowed down existence as fatigue intervenes to
give most everything a slow-motion feel; finally no real idea as to what
is happening out in the world--I knew vaguely there was a World Cup
being played, but it was days after the fact that I discovered the Miami
Heat had won the NABO championship (and I'm a Heat fan). If
you didn't notice, Astero took a two-week hiatus because of this
affliction--but we're back now!
strikes instructors and participants alike. Symptoms
include a loss of a sense of time as the days begin to blur
together; a constant buzz effect from all the noise of 40+ kids;
and almost a complete unawareness of what is going on in the
Udalekuers were taking part in the Saturday morning Basque
parade through downtown Elko.
was a great success this year, and I'd have to say that from my eight
camps where I have instructed, this was the easiest one. There are
probably several reasons for that including: a great job of
organizing things locally on the part of Bob Echeverria and Anita
Anacabe Franzoia who rounded up a great team of local supporters to work
and house the kids; the closeness of the Elko's great Basque
restaurants; an A-team of instructors that included Lisa Corcostegui,
Jenny Ysursa, Garikoitz Otamendi, Maialen Irastorza, Aita Tillous (his
11th camp!), Haritz Zubiaur and Joseba Etxarri (his 8th camp). It
made my life SO much easier having such a talented group of people who
could multi-task so well. But probably the single largest factor
was the group of kids themselves--from day one they took to each other
and got along very well. It made it a real joy.
We had a great team of instructors that included Lisa Corcostegui,
Jenny Ysursa, Garikoitz Otamendi, Maialen
Irastorza, Aita Tillous, Joseba Etxarri & Haritz Zubiaur.
But probably one of the greatest elements was the group of
participants who overall were a great group of kids.
Udaleku came to a close
Friday afternoon (June 30th) with a final show that highlighted what we
had done across the previous two weeks. we worked and we played,
but now it was time to say goodbye, but many a new friendship was made
and that's Udaleku's greatest success story. Now these young
Basques know others in other Basque communities, and they'll be ready to
travel to see them again. Keeping a Basque spirit alive isn't
rocket science--if we can provide an opportunity for young Basques to
have a good time while learning something about their Basque heritage,
then we have succeeded.
this year was hosted by the Elko Euzkaldunak Club and it opened
their festival dance. Participants were of various ages
and the audience also got into the act with several
For many years the Mendiko Euskaldun Kluba of Gardnerville was gracious
enough to serve as our host for NABO's annual Kantari Eguna. They
have opted to go to an alternating schedule, thus this year Elko stepped
up to host the event. It preceded their Saturday night dance at
their clubhouse. Kantari Eguna began years ago as a way of
focusing on Basque song. There were about a dozen participants of
various ages, and the audience also got into the act with several
sing-a-longs. There is something about people singing together
that makes for a magical moment. It was a fun event, and it rolled
right into the dance outside with the music of Jean Flesher and his
band. There the Udaleku kids were able to show off their newly
With the Elko picnic on Sunday, the Basque festivities came to a close
in Elko and the Party Van rolled once again down the road back to the
Reno area and we wrapped it all up with a kayaking trip on Silver Lake,
a high-mountain lake in the Sierra Nevadas. And thus the two-plus
week adventure came to close. But no it's not over yet. We
got the Party Van gassed and ready for another trip! Look for news
from the road as we make our way to Buffalo for the NABO Convention in a
few weeks. Livin' large in Wyoming!
||If you missed Part I of the
Basque Summer Adventure, you can still catch the action at this
year's NABO Convention in Buffalo, Wyoming the weekend of July