The more we learn about the heritage of our friends and neighbors the more cultural awareness we foster.  We deepen and create more meaningful interactions with those around us. We work to build a community based in respect and empathy for other people.  We learn to celebrate each others differences as well as our shared similarities and humanities. 

We see the beauty in each other.  

Thank you for attending our

Annual Heritage Night

Basque Cultural Event

Tuesday, March 14

The Shore Lodge Lower Pavilion

6:00 – 7:30 pm

Our guest speaker was Edurne Arostegui
Education Programs Specialist, 

Additional entertainment and knowledge was provided by the
Biotzetik Basque Choir and Oinkari Basque dancers.


Photos Courtesy of Chelsea Tuttle

Oinkari Basque Dancer

Sixty years ago, a proud young group of Basque Americans dreamed of creating a troupe to preserve and perform the unique dances of their ancient heritage. They journeyed to the Basque Country in the summer of 1960 in pursuit of this dream. In the midst of the mountains and sea coast where the Basque culture began, the young people met a group of dancers from the town of Donostia (or San Sebastián). The American visitors accompanied the dancing group to rehearsals and festivals that summer and the two groups became fast friends. In the enthusiasm and dedication of this dance troupe, the American Basques saw a perfect model for their own group in the United States. The friendship between the groups, born of a common heritage and love of the Basque tradition of dance, lead to the naming of the Basque American “dream” group after their Basque Country friends. They named the new group “Oinkari” (meaning one who does with his feet, or dancer in Euskera, the Basque language).

The Boise Oinkari soon began rehearsals upon their return to the states. Under the direction of Albert Erquiaga and Diana Urresti and with the expert musical accompaniment of Jim Jausoro and Domingo Ansotegui, the Oinkaris made their debut at the annual gathering of area Basques, the Sheepherder’s Ball, at Christmas time in 1960. The dream at last came true. The hard work continues; the dream has blossomed and the Oinkari Dancers have become a source of pride to the Basque community as well as to the State of Idaho. In the best tradition of folk customs, the dances have been taught to hundreds of young Basques throughout the years. Dancers and instructors from the Basque country have visited Boise and enriched the group’s traditional repertoire. Some members have also had opportunities to travel to the Basque Country and learn additional dances.

This enthusiasm has spread to appreciative crowds in World’s Fair exhibitions including Spokane, Seattle, New York, Montreal, and Shanghai. In 1973 the group visited six Western states on a tour, and traveled to perform at a folk festival in Washington D.C. In 1985 to celebrate the its 25th anniversary, the group made a return voyage to the Basque Country where they performed throughout the seven Basque provinces. Oinkariak have returned to the Basque Country to learn and perform several times since and will be making the trek across the Atlantic once again in June 2023. The Oinkari Dancers continue to travel to national Basque gatherings and folk festivals across Idaho, Nevada, California, and Wyoming. The group also performs dozens of times each year for charities and private events.

The current version of the Oinkari Dantzari Taldea carries on and brightens the dream of the group of 1960. More than a thousand young men and women, over the years, have rehearsed each Sunday at the Boise’s Basque Center. In addition to performing the same dances that the original group learned, the group has expanded their repertoire to include almost forty different numbers representing nearly each of the seven Basque provinces of the Old Country.

The group is accompanied by our wonderful musicians: Teresa Franzoia (accordion and txistu), Joey Haas (percussion), Alex Wray (pandero), and Mitch Murgoitio (txistu).

Biotzetik Basque Choir

Biotzetik Basque Choir was founded over 35 years ago to spread Basque musical heritage and culture to people worldwide. Biotzetik (“bee-oat-se-teek”), which in Basque means “from the heart”, continues the long and proud tradition of Basque choral singing.

Based out of Boise, Idaho, Biotzetik has sung throughout the United States as well as internationally in Canada and the Basque Country in Spain and France. The choir is comprised of volunteer members, both Basque and non-Basque, all of whom have a deep appreciation for music and the desire to promote the Basque language and culture. The group performs year-round for festivals, concerts, community events, weddings, funerals, and other activities – providing formal Basque choral and folksong music as appropriate for each venue.

Since 1998, Biotzetik has been under the direction of Patty Gabica.

Edurne Arostegui
Education Programs Specialist, Basque Museum & Cultural Center

Edurne Arostegui is the Education Programs Specialist at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center in Boise and the Basque Language Coordinator for North American Basque Organizations. She is currently finishing her PhD in Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, and her dissertation explores Basque women’s migration experiences in the American West with an emphasis on the impact of their economic labor in the formation of Basque communities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and in Music from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s in History from the University of the Basque Country. 


The Uberuaga Family

Kristin & Walt Sinclair

Nadeane & Tim Rutledge

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PO Box 1391
McCall, ID 83638


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