One of the best voices among the Basque songwriters was Imanol. Imanol Larzabal Goñi was born in Saint Sebastian (Sp. San Sebastián; Eus. Donostia) in 1947. In despite of the hard prohibition that Francoist authorities make on the Basque language use, at his home always was spoken Euskara, the Basques’ immemorial language. Imanol was a young activist: being young he was a dantzari (traditional Basque dancer) as a member of the cultural Basque group Argia (light), he began to sings in Basque since 1964; in 1968 gets into the universitarian abertzale (a Basque word that means a Basque patriot) studients union, and finally he joins as a ally and supporter of ETA: Basque Country and Freedom (Eus. Euskadi ta Askatasuna; Sp. País Vasco y Libertad), when this armed group means other thing that today (look behind) and records an EP under the pseudonim of Mitxel Etxegarai. In 1971 he was arrested for "belongings to armed band"; gets free, but when the regime arrests an ETA activistists, in the so called Burgos process, he decides to exiliate himself to France. There he mets Paco Ibáñez, a son of Spanish refugiates, who has being singing great Spanish poems from all times. With his help and friendship, Imanol records his first LP "Orain borrokarenean…" (Now in the fight). He also recorded in France others great albums: one with Castilian female-songwriter Elisa Serna; with the Britain great folk group Gwendal he recorded two LPs: Herriak ez du barkatuko! (People shall not forgive!) in France, and Lau haizetara (To the four winds) in Spain, after to obtain Amnesty in 1977. In Spain already he records a lot of well templated records as in Basque as in Spanish. For deffending ex-ETA activist Yoyes’ remember, killed by her own ex-companions-in-arms, he gets threats from ETA, so he went out Basque Country. Imanol finally died in 2004, in Orihuela.
Imanol’s art and deep voice has been defined as a voice of soil. His songs was a middle of poetry and traditional Basque music and songs, and he always loved his land. His friends still carrying him in the heart.
Euskal Kanta Berria (New Basque Song) was a movement of Basque songwriters with the pretension of vindicate and save Basque language, music and culture, and a vindication of their land, the so named Euskal Herria (Basque Land/ Basque People). Between this movement, there were collectives as and Argia (light) and Ez dok Amairu (There’s no Thirteen). Between them we can name people as important as Mikel Laboa, Lourdes Iriondo, Benito Lertxundi, Imanol, Lupe, Oskorri… In differance of others regionals songwriters movements, Euskal Kanta Berria used to play the Basque traditional music since the beginnig with their poems or those from great Basque poets as Gabriel Aresti. Within this movement, songwriters Antton Valverde, J. A. Artze and Xabier Lete make the most of these songs.
Euskara, the language of the Basques. Between the languages of the whole world, Euskara/ Euskera or Basque is one of the most mysterious. His roots are still unknown, and many times, by nationalists interests, has been involved in misticism and mistery. It’s spoken in which the Basques names Euskal-Herria (Basque Land and/ or Basque People), a linguistic extension of lands that includes, in Spain, Basque Country (Euskadi/ Euzkadi), with the provinces of Vizcaya (Bizkaia), Guipuzcoa (Gipuzkoa) and Alava (Araba), and in the north and middle of Navarre (Eus. Nafarra/ Naparra); and, in France, Labort (Lapurdi), Low Navarre (B. Nafarra Behera; Fr. Baix-Navarre) and Sola (Zuberoa). Basque language is intimately joined to Basque culture and Basque way of life in all its dimensions. But it can’t be saying that exists a unique Basque language, but a group of dialects; great basqueologist Michelena made the lines to form a standard Basque language named Euskara Batua (United Basque language). There are indications that Basque was spoken in Euskal-Herria since before Roman conquerors. In the Middle Age exists some wrotes and songs, as religious as seculars. Basque nationalism (abertzale) made a vindication of all these things, specially Sabino Arana‘s PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) at XIX century. In the 30’s, during the Second Spanish Republic, Basque Country obtaines its Autonomy Statute; but after Franco’s victory in the war, they losed all their rights as people, and their language relegates to private use. Great poets in Basque language are Jon Mirande, Gabriel Aresti, Ibon Sarrasola, Xabier Lete, J. A. Artze… Also there are great writers as Bernardo Atxaga or Sarrionaindia. The great basqueologist Michelena, since 1950, made the indications for a serious study of Basque language and its roots.
Euskadi: the Basque Country, and Euskal-Herria (Basque Lands). Basque Country (B. Euskadi/ Euzkadi; Sp. País Vasco) is a northern beatiful land, beside the Cantabrian Sea, at the Golfus of Vizcaya. It has been the focus of the Basque language and culture. In the Middle Age was a part of the Kingdom of Navarre; later, due to historicals changes, step to be a part of the Crown of Aragon. Due to the Bilbao’s great industrial development, Basque Country recibed immigrants from others Spanish lands as Andalusia, Extremadura, Galicia or Castilia. This fact makes that Sabino Arana wanted to perserve Basque language and culture (although his planteaments were firstly very extremists) and found the Basque Nationalist Party, within the great consciousness-taking of the Peoples of the world: the so named Birth of Nationalism in XIX Century. In the 30’s, during the Second Spanish Republic, Basque Country
obtaines its Autonomy Statute; but after Franco’s victory in the war,
they losed all their rights as people, and their language relegates to
private use. As in the others lands, Basques made an efort for their recognizement, and even were born independentist groups; some of them using armed fight. With the arrival of Democracy, Spanish State gave to Basque Country the recognizement of its Statute and the ranking of Autonomic Community.
(Some notes about ETA. I really don’t like to talk about ETA, specially when I speakes about Basque people, their language and their arts. But, as this category is for you, the foreigners, and I have make a mention about it, I’ll tell you some things about them only for this time. First: I transalated the name in Basque as it is: Basque Country and Freedom; ETA uses to translate it as Basque Fatherland and Freedom; this is unexcatly, because for that, they would have the name of Euskal-Herria ta Askatasuna. About their story, is such complex that can’t been understand as the organization is today. They were born as an armed group at the late 60’s; they choose their victims and rarely made massive bombings: only in a couple of times at the 60-70’s years. At the swinging 70’s, ETA suffered a divission in two tendences: politic-militar ETA and militar ETA: the firsts were be able to left guns once upon Democracy was arriving and to continue the fight for independence in the not-violence politicals party; militar ETA, by their part, decides to continue armed fight until Basque Lands (Euskal Herria) were free of Spanish State. Militar ETA is the tendence that continues today, although without the violence of yesterdays days (thanksgiving). In the old ETA were people very heterogeneous, cause was a strong armed force against Franco’s regime. Many people of the paciffic opposition have their respect in them, although they didn’t like their doings. I apologize you for this note, but specially to Basque people: I hope someday a person who’d likes to talk about the Basque culture could make it without talking about terrorism nor politic.)
Euskadin, Castillan beazala story. This song talks about the migrates movement in Spain: a lot of people from Andalusia, Extremadura, Galicia, etc. were forced by the necesity to migrate to Basque Country, to the Bilbao’s factories. Basque also, in some times, were forced to migrate to others lands for working.
Euskadin, Castillan bezala
Ene Segurako aitonak
ogia behar zuenean
Castillara joaten zen
Bere igitaia treberenetakoa omen zen
Bai, hori bai…
Hamar haur zituen gosez etxean.
Bai!, hori bai!
ogia nahi dutenean
Goiherrira joaten dira
Kanpokoak pizkorrak omen dira peontzan
Bai, hora bai…
Hamaika haur ba dute gosez etxean
Bai!, hora bai!
Castillako soroez, eta Goiherriko tximiniez
ene aitona eta kastellanoak
heuren haurren haseak
Ez luteke ihes gehiagorik ikusiko
Ez Castillan, ez Euskadin.
My grandfather from Segura, when he was needing bread, used to go to Castilia as a laborer. They say that his sickle was skilful. Yes, of course, yes… He had ten hungry kids in his home. Yes! of course! // Castilia’s laborers, when they were wanting bread, use to go to Goierri as laborers, to the factories. They say that foreigners are experienced labourer. Yes, of course, yes… They have the hungry offspring in their home. Yes!, of course!// If my grandfather and the Castilians were the landlords of the lands of Castilia and of the Goierri’s chimneis, their children, feed up of food, wouldn’t have to scape no more nor to Castilia nor to Basque Country.
For learn more about Basque Country: