Basque in the celebrations this weekend for annual festival | Entertainment

If you have lived in Bakersfield long enough, you can dine at one of our excellent Basque restaurants, but your knowledge of culture may not be the same.

Fortunately, our thriving Basque community is welcoming not only through food, but also with a glimpse into its traditions, games and history with the annual Kern County Basque Festival, which is held on Memorial Day weekend.

The annual gathering will feature music and dance performances, ball (handball) games with international athletes and a mus (card game) tournament along with a variety of dining options.

Although most of the events take place at the Kern County Basque Club, the festivities begin on Friday at Cal State Bakersfield with an academic day and music performance by musician Mikel Urdangarin.

These events will highlight the new Basque Institute of Studies created by the university this academic year.

“It’s a big outing party for the institute, which coincides with the festival,” said Dr. Steven Gamboa, co-director of the institute and head of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. “It’s going to be a great weekend for the Basque Bakersfield events.”

It is the only such institute in the CSU system, Gamboa said. (Other well-regarded Basque studies programs are offered at UC Santa Barbara, Boise State University in Idaho, and the University of Nevada, Reno).

Gamboa, who directs the program with Dr. Iker Arranz Otaegui, said that his role is twofold: to promote Basque language awareness as an ethnic and cultural language, to spread this knowledge to a wider audience, and to collaborate with the Basque community in Bakersfield.

“We are very lucky in the Central Valley because we have so much ethnic diversity. We want to do everything we can to keep that going and to bridge the gap between the university and the community.”

Academically, CSUB students can take courses on language (Basque) and Basque culture at beginner and advanced level. He is also taking a course in the Basque Country to get opportunities to study abroad.

For the community at large, events like the one scheduled for Friday are a way to connect with the university.

The conference will feature two presentations: Dr. Mustafah Dhada, Professor of History at CSUB, will present “Padre Salgado’s Last Motorcycle Ride: How the Son of a Basque Bullfighter Fighted to Fight for Human Rights in Mozambique” at 3 p.m. It will be below. Begona Echeverria and Annika Speer from UC Riverside present a video in the docudrama “Picasso Presents Gernika” about a famous painting by Spanish artists depicting the 1937 bombing of the Basque Country.

Basque singer Mikel Urdangarin will perform at the CSUB Dore Theater. The artist is currently on a “25 Tour” around the world, celebrating a quarter of a century of taking Basque music beyond its borders.

“He is a prominent figure in the Basque music scene,” said Gamboa. “His songs are really popular and accessible.”

Those who miss the free concert on the Urdangarin campus will have the opportunity to see a performance at the Euskal Etxea on Saturday evening.

Club president Louis Iturriria said he was excited to return to the festival after being delayed due to the pandemic.

“It’s just a day to be with family and friends, to celebrate Basque culture and our traditions as in previous years,” he said of the weekend’s event.

Along with Urdangarin, Basque clubs will host Andoni Gaskue, Ander Ruiz de Larramendi, Benat Senar and Aaron Arbizu.

“They will play on Saturday and Sunday at 4:30 for two days,” Iturriria said. “We are one of the few Basque clubs in the United States with a handball court. We want to use it.”

There will also be dance performances by three groups of young people and one adult (teenagers and adults). In addition to the special routines, all the dancers, around 100 in all, will also have a combined performance.

According to Iturriria, “It’s very nice to see all these children out there, keeping the Basque dances alive, and their passion and pride in their culture.”

The weekend offers a wide range of activities for all ages, whether they are Basque speakers or honorary members.

Good participation in this annual event ensures that the Basque community will continue to thrive.

“We are always encouraged not only by our members, but also by the local community and the support we receive,” said Iturriria. “That’s why we are able to keep the Basque culture and tradition alive locally.”

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter: @realstefanidias.

Basque in the celebrations this weekend for annual festival | Entertainment Source link Basque in the celebrations this weekend for annual festival | Entertainment

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