Oinkaldi 2018

Summer is the best part of being an Oinkari and this year’s summer tour was gearing up to be a good one. Ending a Saturday night in Winnemucca with oatmeal and slot machines at Winners Casino. Making new friends from California, Nevada, and Utah during the NABO convention. Another trip to Elko dancing to the infectious melodies of Xabi Aburruzaga and Aitor Uribarri. Bringing it back home to eat full plates of solomo, lamb, and beans right before performing under the hot summer sun in grass that’s just too tall to dance in. And all the bus trips that, though mostly uncomfortable and slightly stinky, were as epic as the destination. The summer of 18’ was shaping up to be a smash and it was only about to get better!

Then came Gooding... After sharing the grassy stage with Utah’ko Triskalariak and Ardi Baltza from Nevada, another group’s charter bus pulled into the gravel parking lot and began to unload. Jean shorts, uniquely cut bangs, and silver earrings…. It had to be them.  After months of planning itineraries and trying to manage communicating with and 8 hour time difference Goizaldi Dantza Taldea was here! After a bathroom break for them and and Eusk-span-glish introduction for the groups, we hopped on our bus and managed to convince a few Goizaldi dancers to join us. Little did they know… About five minutes into the trip we realized that the AC was broken, but that didn’t stop us! In true Oinkari fashion, and with the help of Xabi Aburruzaga and Aitor Uribarri, the singing and dancing commenced. We even managed to start up a banako set in the aisle! (Shout out to Mikel Sangroniz for his exuberance and passion for dance.)


The nonstop dancing on the mobile sauna really took it out of us, but thankfully we pulled up to the center in the nick of time. That evening, the women of Aiztan Artean had generously prepared a delicious dinner and were kind enough to help set up and serve it to us so that we could begin getting to know each other. Goizaldi dancer Asier Ibarguren prepared a bertso to kick off the festivities and couldn’t have expressed the sentiment of that moment any better. 

Again I stand in front of a crowd

A chance to demonstrate

They have asked me for a bertso

And I must go on with it

Amidst food and conversation

We are having a great time

It’s obvious that with these Boiseans

We are going to get along just fine!

-Asier Ibarguren

Berriz altxata jende aurrean

Demostratzeko aukera

Bertsoa eskatu didate eta

Egin behar det aurrera

Janari eta kontu artean

Gustora gaude soberan

Ikusten denez Boisekoekin

Ondo moldatuko gera!

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Almost as if it had been planned… the trusty oinkari amp made it out of the closet and, from the speaker, began to play the wholesome “untsah untsahs” of reggaeton. The infectious bassline inspired Iñigo and Unax to start the party with a choreographed number. Then Yago took center stage and absolutely slayed. Reggaeton turned into ska and ska morphed into classic euskal music hits by Xabi and Aitor who were then joined by the Goizaldi txistularis Yago, Adur, and Adrian . The party continued and so did conversation. As the evening came to a close, Oinkaris met the dancers they were hosting for the week and off they went. Josu, Andoni, and I were lucky enough to host Araitz, Aitor, Unax, and Maddi our adopted siblings for the week.

I don’t know what it is about Boise Basques, but we somehow always manage to plan significant Basque events on the HOTTEST days of the summer. Thankfully we have a river, and it was time to introduce our visitors to the best way to escape the heat. The highlight of the float was definitely the rope swing. Those who dared gave it a try. Garoa had some close calls, Nick Ansotegui astonished the crowds with his effortless flips, and more than one person made us laugh with their 10-point landing. 

The week continued with a hike at Bogus, watching the spectacle that is the Snake River Stampede, a trip to roaring springs, a pala tournament and a patata tortilla competition. We had a group dinner every night that always ended with dancing, singing, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company until late at night


Thursday of that week we had our main event, “Eat, Drink, Dance and Be Basque.” With the help of The Basque Market and Goizaldi dance group, we were able to coordinate a joint performance and dinner on the block. I must admit, in the moment, myself and other organizers had been worried about how this event would play out. Would people come? Would the performance be good? Would there be enough food? Turns out, it was a huge success! The performance was beautiful. It reminded me of the importance of groups like Oinkari, The Basque Market, The Basque Museum, Ikastola, and many other groups in Boise do to preserve and expand our definition of Euskalduna. 

That night we celebrated. But this time we had shirts. And for some, bro tanks. By that time, the basement of the Basque Center became our txoko and it was tradition to end every night there. Thanks to Spotify we had beste bat-s to supply us the whole night. I’ve only ever gaupasa-d in the Basque Country, but that night we gaupasa-d in Boise and it was glorious. People who can dance until the early hours of the next morning and who are willing to go to work on an hour of sleep are MY kind of people. What a night!


Friday was here and we were approaching the last events on our itinerary. I knew that this was going to be an important week for all of our dancers, but I didn’t anticipate the impact the relationships we developed would have. The tears were already starting to bubble up to the surface that morning but it didn’t take much for them to make an appearance. Our generous friend PJ Mansisidor hosted a farewell barbeque. Grillmasters Elise and Johnny cooked up some delicious chicken to go with Kirk’s famous mac and cheese. Scott and Ben brought Spike ball, Aisea dominated on the volleyball court and Amaya set the mood as DJ. The sun quickly set and our time was sadly coming to an end. Aitor and Araitz gathered everyone up. Asier sang one final goodbye bertso that was then followed by an original song their group had written about their time with us. 

It is beautiful to see

So many dancers united as one

With the unique purpose

To promote our Basque culture

Together we have shared

Many great moments

And have been given

The gift of everlasting friendship

Continue to nurture the tree

That together we have planted

So that its roots grow

Deep into the earth

It has been a pleasure

Thank you so much Oinkari

    -Asier Ibarguren

Polita da ikustea

Batera hainbat dantzari

Bultzada bat emateko

Gure euskal kulturari

Elkarrekin igarota

Momentu itzel ugari

Betirako lagun batzuk

Izan ditugu opari

Sustraiak jarrai dezaten

Ongi lotura lurrari

Jarraitu ura botatzen

Sortu dugun zuhaitzari

Plazer handi bat izan da

Eskerrik asko Oinkari!


Needless to say, I cried like a wuss the whole time. And then I just turned into a puddle.  I don’t know who started it but we were all in a massive circle in the yard with our arms around each other's shoulders singing Lau Teilatu. As self appointed documentor and videographer I started recording. Thank goodness there is no sound in the video because if there was you would hear my attempt to sing the song while choking back tears. In that moment we were all connected. There may have been a language barrier and thousands of miles separating our lives from theirs, but we managed to communicate still. We shared every hour of every day together and thanks to that we developed friendships. Araitz announced that their bus had arrived to take them to the airport and man was that a bummer. There was just enough time for bi muxus and hugs goodbye before sending them off with an agurra as they drove off. It was a long, hot, and no sleep filled week, but I would not have had it any other way. 

Thank you to Elise, Johnny, Josu, Marie and all the other Oinkaris who helped make sure things ran smoothly even when there were hiccups. Thank you to PJ Mansisidor for the farewell BBQ spot. To  Aiztan Artean for dinner and starting our week off with a bang. To The Basque Market for helping us put on a great summer event. To Joe Lasuen for the merch. To the families who temporarily adopted our visiting dancers and made them feel welcome. To Goizaldi for coming to visit us in Boise. And to everyone else who was a part of this tremendous week! It wouldn’t have been as meaningful without all of you. Eskerrik asko Bihotzez!

If you want to get a taste of what it was like check out this highlight video and photo album!


Madalen Bieter Lete

Oinkari Basque Dancer

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