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Tomorrow the 47 edition of the Durangoko Azoka opens its doors; a book by Mattin Etchamendy


Mattin Etchamendi's memories Urruneko Mendebalean Artzain on sale at Maiatz's booth at the Azoka
Mattin Etchamendi's memories Urruneko Mendebalean Artzain on sale at Maiatz's booth at the Azoka


The atmosphere in the street is icy, in regards to the temperature as well as in regards to the cuts and attacks that the Basque culture is enduring. In order to deal with this, Basque writers, musicians, editors and euskaltzales from all over Euskal Herria are gathering in the warmth of the Durangoko Azoka, from tomorrow through Sunday. As in prior editions the Diaspora will also have spot among the stands at the fair, for example, Maiatz publisher that published Urruneko Mendebaldean Artzain, the memories of Basque-American Mattin Etchamendy.

Durango, Bizkaia. Everything is ready at the Landako Pavilion in Durango where the 47 edition of the Durango Book and Music Fair will open its doors tomorrow.  Faced with the cuts and attacks that the Basque culture is suffering, the fair is larger than ever: 253 stands, more than 400 novelties and more that 300 activities.  The public response remains to be seen but surely, as every year, many euskaltzales will take advantage of the fair to do their Christmas shopping, all in support of the Basque Culture.

This year’s novelties, as well as publishers and record companies can been found in the Novelty Catalogue.  From we would like to highlight at least these two publications having to do with the Diaspora.  One is Urruneko Mendebalean Artzain published by Maiatz.  This work includes the memories of Mattin Etchamendy on his years as a sheepherder in the US.

From the Herriko Taberna in Buenos Aires

Another novelty that we would like to highlight is the album "Latinoamérica canta a Euskal Herria" the fruit of the collaboration between Askapena and the Argentine Association Euskal Herriaren Lagunak.  The album brings together singers who have been featured over the last two years on the Herriko Taberna stage in Buenos Aires, as well as Latin-American musicians who identify with Euskal Herria.   The work is also a posthumous tribute to Jose Luis Mezo Bigarrena, who performs the first song.  Two songs on the album can be heard on the internet; Independencia by Rafael Amor of Argentina and América sí by Evelyn Cornejo of Chile.

It should be mentioned that one of the songs is sung by Maite y Arantza Aguirregomezcorta, two “Children of the War” who were born in Pasaia and who after many adventures were exiled in Argentina along with their family.  Maite and Arantza still live in Argentina, but they haven’t forgotten their roots, and even less so when singing in Basques, as seen at the Herriko Taberna in Buenos Aires.

"Kantuz Euskaraz"

Finally, an album that is not related to the Diaspora, but that will surely be appreciated by Basques everywhere: the first album by the Donosti Choir Ibaeta Abesbatza "Kantuz Euskaraz".  This choir gathered for its first album a collection of classical and traditional songs by Basque composers.  Among these are legendary songs such as “Txoria Txori", "Maite, maite, maitea", "Herribehera" (by Benito Lertxundi, that will be awarded the Argizaiola prize at the Durangoko Azoka this year), "Xalbadorren heriotza", "Oi Ama Euskal Herri goxua" and "Txakolina" (a previously unreleased song by Urko). The album will be on sale at Elkar’s booth.


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