TAPE MINUTE SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
0:15 Jean Louis was born in Arnegi in 1938. His parents were Simon Cihigoyenetche and Graciana Begue. They were farmers in Arnegi. As a child he lived on the family farmstead which was called Hartchaina. This house was the last house up in the mountains in a neighborhood called Matxo consisting of three houses. The names of these houses were Borderia and Axina. These households functioned together as a unit in an activity known as auzolanak. Twice a year they helped each other make and transport hay. The first neighbor carried the cross in funerals. Borderia was the first neighbor of Hartchaina or the Cihigoyenetche house.
2:59 Jean Louis is one of five brothers and also has three sisters. One brother lives in California, one passed away, the others live in the Basque Country. One of them still lives at Hartchaina. One of the sisters lives in California and the others are in the Basque Country.
3:46 They had a lot of happy moments as children. The boys from Borderia were his childhood friends. At Axina they only had girls, so they fought over them. They played Eramuseria with a stick, they had to move each other with the stick. They didn’t have toys, just rocks and sticks.
4:39 He went to school in Arnegi. He started when he was about six. He didn’t speak any French. It was pretty hard. The kids born in town knew French, but the ones from the baserriak only spoke Basque. He says they were kaska gogorrak, but they weren’t punished and they learned fairly quickly.
5:16 At home as a child he was responsible for bringing the milking cows in and feeding the pigs. When they were in school they stayed in Arnegi. That is a bad memory. They stayed in a boarding house, it was too far to walk home. It was about 11 kilometers. They could only go home on vacations. They couldn’t go home on the weekends. There were always two or three brothers together. At first they stayed at an aunt’s house. Then another house. He did that until he quit at age 14. After that he started working on the farm.
6:38 At school they just went to class and did their homework. On the weekend they went to church and made some new friends and played with them. They played a little handball. They went to church two times on Sunday. Mass in the morning and bezperak in the afternoon.
7:30 On the farm they didn’t go out too much except to the fiestas. They worked like donkeys. They had about 150 sheep for milk. They had cows and a few horses. They raised corn for the animals and themselves. They made taloak. They raised fruit and potatoes. They ate vegetables, taloak, milk, cheese. Once in a while they killed a lamb. They never really ate meat. They had pigs so they had xingarra. They took some of the pork to the neighbors. They killed 4 pigs a year. They always killed one on his birthday on December 27. You should kill a pig in December or January to cure the ham, it is coldest then. They made blood sausage.
9:33 He went to church in Luzaide, also called Valcarlos, but he went to school in Arnegi. So he says he has two home towns. There was a church in Arnegi, but it was too far away. Their house was technically in Arnegi, but closer to Luzaide. They went to the fiestas in Luzaide on July 25, which is Santiago. In Arnegi they celebrated August 15, Andre Mari. Sometimes they didn’t attend that on in Arnegi, especially if there was a lot of work; the older ones may have at night. For Santiago, on the other hand, they let the work go to attend. They killed a lamb and had cookies. Now they do bolantak for the fiestas, but they didn’t at that time. They did it in the spring. For Santiago they used to do Axe eta Tupina. The object was to rip the clothes of the axo andtupina. Everybody participated. Everybody got hit, just playing around. They go around the plaza 3 times and then the public can start trying to grab them. They wear brambles so it is harder to grab them. It was all boys that participated. They picked boys who wouldn’t get mad.
13:13 In the spring forIhauteriak the young people went around and collected chorizo and other food. In Valcarlos you weren’t allowed to cover your face. He thinks it’s because it was in Spain, the priest didn’t like it. In Arnegi they could wear masks. They went in a couple bunches to all the houses. People gave them Xingarra, chorizo, morcilla. They also gave money. Then they went to the restaurant and they cooked the food for them. They sang and danced. They danced lauetan erdizka usually, because it doesn’t require much space. There wasn’t very much flat land around the farmhouses. In town they did muxikoak. A musician went with them. He usually played accordion or clarinet. His dad went sometimes with the tanborra. He also played the accordion. Jean Louis used to play the flute; he learned in school.
15:29 He left the Basque Country in 1958 and came to the United States to make a little money. They didn’t have money to do much. Maybe you went to dinner with your friends and then didn’t do anything else for months. It was hard for his dad to give his 5 sons money to go to the plaza; he had to be careful with his money.
16:39 His brother, Manex, was the premua and stayed on the farm. Jean Louis was 19 when he came. He came by plane; a propeller plane. They left from Paris, they landed in Alaska. He came with his brother, Raymond. The next stop was Los Angeles. He had a cousin here, Martín Cihigoyenetche, who was from Arnegi. Martín met them in Chino. Martín had been here for 8 or 10 years. He worked at an embroidery business in Anaheim, California.
18:07 Martín’s brother-in-law (Salaberri from Lekorne) was a dairy farmer, and that’s where Jean Louis got his first job in Chino milking cows. His first impression was to be surprised that he wouldn’t be of legal drinking age for two more years. He didn’t get much sleep on the dairy farm. He worked from 12 at night to 7 in the morning and from 12 noon until 7 at night. The milking machines had just come out and they weren’t as fast as they are now. There were about 90 cows. They had to milk by hand a little too. He worked there for 3 or 4 years until he started on his own. He started a dairy farm with Martín and Raymond in Chino. They bought a farm.
19:53 The hardest thing to get used to was getting up at 12 at night. If he hadn’t had a kaska gogorra he would have gone right back. But they didn’t want to give up. But herding sheep wasn’t any easier, and at least they got to stay in town. Learning English was pretty hard. It took a couple of years. He slept in his free time. In those days there were fewer Basques in Chino than there are now. They used to get together at the hotel. They had parties there. They went on Saturday nights to dance and then without sleeping they went to milk the cows. Chino has changed a lot since then. They have bigger dairies. He hardly knows the young people. Chino didn’t have a Basque festival in those days, but La Puente did. He joined that club 2 or 3 years after he got here and started teaching dance. He met his wife, Annie, when she wanted to learn how to dance.
22:20 He became a citizen as soon as he could, he thinks 5 years.
22:40 END SIDE 1
0:04 He felt like a movie star when he was a bolanta dancing in Luzaide when he was 16 years old. It was very important to be a bolanta. The older neighbor boy , Bernardo from Borderia, taught him. Jean Louis and his brother Pierre were the first brothers in the family to dance. Manex and Raymond didn’t dance. Raymond was in the army and Manex didn’t want to. His father was very happy that they were dancing; he had been a bolanta when he was young and was a very good dancer. The grandfather was against dancing so they sneaked around. He thought they should just work all the time. Jean Louis doesn’t think he ever danced. Bernardo from Borderia taught them Muxikoak, Bolant Iantza, Pasa Calles, Sorgin Iantza, Euskaldun Dantza, the dances from the Cavalcade.
1:06 On the other side of Valcarlos there is a little area called Ondarrola. The first time he danced in the Cavalcade, they did it there. Ondarrola belongs to Arnegi. They did it in the spring. Jean Louis, 2 brothers and their father participated. The young and old did it together. That might have been 1955. It had been done there a long time before, but not recently. Jean Luis learned how to dance for that cavalcade at Ondarrola. After that he also danced in Valcarlos. For the cavalcade of Ondarrola, it was only people from Ondarrola that participated, they were from a few houses. The mailbox for Hartchaina was in Ondarrola. They were very proud of their cavalcade because although he says he’s from Arnegi, he’s realy from Ondarrola. The dancers that participated in Valcarlos were from Valcarlos and Ondarrola. The ones who went to church together were the ones who danced together in Bolant Eguna. They didn’t take anybody from Arnegi, and Arnegi didn’t take anybody from Valcarlos. The bolantak from Valcarlos and Ondarrola visit Arnegi, and the ones from Arnegi visit Valcarlos. They went to St. Jean le Vieux (Donazaharre) also and were back to Valcarlos by noon. In the morning they went to mass and then they danced in the plaza. After they that they got in a truck and went to Arnegi. In the afternoon they started at the priest’s house. There was a big tree in his garden. They did Muxikoak there first and then went to the plaza to dance. The priest had first priority to see the dances. He got to approve them. The cavalcade consisted of bolantak, horses, zapurrak, xiganteak. There were no girls, however. The bolantak were 15 year old and up to 40. There were no rules about it, however, a lot of men stopped when they were married. The costume consisted of a starched white shirt, they were special old shirts. They wore 5 to 7 gold brooches. They went to different houses to get the pins - usually the old ladies were the ones who had this jewelry. Their husbands and boyfriends maybe had brought it from the United States. Now maybe they use fake ones. Those were called broxak. They also borrowed real gold chains. They borrowed the jewelry a few weeks before. They put the xingolak (ribbons) on themselves. Their mothers made the xingolak. They wore bonetak and gloves and a little makila with ribbons in one hand. They wore espartinak (espadrilles) with kuskulak (bells). They wore a red sash or zinta. Jean Louis’ oldest sister made the costumes for him and his brothers. The colors were red yellow and white - no green because it was in Spain, it was like the flag. In Arnegi they used blue. Now in Luzaide they use green, too. Now they use the Ikurriña, too. They used the Spanish flag and the flag of Nafarroa. Bernardo from Borderia was a good dancer. They didn’t have a makilaria in Luzaide at that time.
8:42 They also learned waltz and polka. He says he wasn’t too good at fandango. They never taught it to him by step. The bolantak didn’t do much fandango. The old people did the kontra iantzak. He picked up a little from them. At his time the young people didn’t do the kontra iantzak like they do now; he doesn’t know why, maybe the because of the priest. Sometimes there were barely 5 or ten bolantak. They did the cavalcade every year, though, even if they had to pay a little to cover the costs of the musicians and other expenses. The cavalcade was their own thing - it belonged to thegaztedia (the young people). If they didn’t take charge and plan it, it wouldn’t have taken place. Now the town helps covers expenses and helps put it on. At that time the tradition was at a low point. There was nobody like a dance master who taught them. They taught each other. Later they started teaching the young people.
11:48 Jean Louis started teaching dance in the United States in La Puente, California about 15 miles from Chino. They had a Basque Club there. Southern California Euskaldun Cluba. They had a few dancers there from Arnegi, the Arretche brothers. There were some kids and they asked Jean Louis to teach them. His first students were some friends he had made - adults. Later he started teaching children. He taught the muxikoak and the dances from Luzaide. He stated teaching the kids after a couple of years of teaching the adults. They had classes at a lot of places. They had classes in a tractor barn and in his own garage. He taught once a week but not always year round, because it was difficult. Before he started teaching they had a small group adult dancers, some married people. They got dancers wherever they could, they went to sheep camps and grabbed who they could. They had costumes like the ones from Luzaide for those dances then they learned some dances from a Bizkaino, Txankarreku, makil dantza, etc. and those so they made costumes with txintxarriak. This Bizkaino came out of the blue. He lived in Pasadena. He had come from South America and had had his own group there. Paco Sinozain or something like that. They incorporated those dances because they wanted something new; they were always doing the same dances. Jean Louis had seen makil haundi from Bizkaia in Euskalerria, a priest with the last name Sagaseta (he thinks Joxe Mari might be the first name, but if it is the same man who wrote Danzas de Valcarlos, and he thinks it is, then it is Miguel Angel) had taught them makil haundi in Luzaide about the time Jean Louis was going to come here.
18:03 San Francisco sent them a picture of how to make the txintxarriak and they found an old shoemaker in Chino who made them for him. The ladies made the bolantak costumes before and made everybody help. The girls wore the gona gorri or poxpolina costume. In La Puente and in Chino the girls were allowed to do Muxikoak. This was a change from Luzaide. One old guy told Jean Louis that he didn’t like that. There were more girls dancing than boys. A lot of the girls were born here. His group performed at the picnic and in Hollywood for the wine festival. They danced once a year for the French consulate for Bastille Day. They danced 2 or 3 times a day. Jean Louis stayed involved as instructor for about 15 years. He still dances; he just danced last week. He took part in Besta Berri in Chino with John Ysursa. They did the dance from HHeleta. He was the Lanzero. The costume is green and he carries a lance. He has done this for about three years; it is a new thing. They have done it in Chino and once in Boise for Jaialdi 2000. Next year they will do it in San Francisco. He had never seen this dance in the Basque Country before he came here. They used to have a marching procession in Arnegi for Besta Berri, but there were no dancers.
21:32 His favorite dance is Mutxikoak. All the dances we sometimes call mutxikoak have different names like Lapurtar Motzak, Hegi, Maiena, etc. They did antrexatak. For Jean Louis a good dancer is one who listens to the music. He always told his dancers to listen to the music or you can never be a good dnacer. Also a good dancer is someone who is light on their feet.
22:20 He met his wife Annie in 1964 or 65 in La Puente. She wanted to learn to dance. He told her that he already had too many girls. She said she was bringing her own boy. So he said OK. They came after classes had already started, so Jean Louis didn’t like it very much that they were starting tin the middle. He gave them private lessons and they caught up with the rest - and she “caught up with him.”
23:02 END SIDE 2 (Tape 1)
TAPE 2 - SIDE 1
0:06 His wife, Annie, was 16 when they met. They got married at St. Margaret in Chino with a Basque priest, Father Chalet. Annie is from Lekuine, Lapurdi ( in French, Bonloc) near Hasparren. She had only been in the United States for 5 or 6 months. She came to stay with her sister. Her family had a hotel in the Basque Country. Her parents did not come for the wedding. Her father came back with them, though, when they went over there. He came 3 or 4 times after that. They had 4 or 5 bridesmaids. They had about 400 guests, mostly Basque. They had the reception at the DES Hall, the Portuguese hall. Jean Louis and Annie have 2 sons - Bernard and Michel, no middle names. They were both born in Chino. Bernard is married to JoAnn Amestoy and lives in Carson City. They have one child. He attended the University of Nevada. He is about 35. He is a CPA. Michel lives in Emmett. He is not married.
5:55 Jean Louis thinks the way people dance has changed in that the young people all dance alike now, and he likes that. There were many ways to dance Muxikoak before, he thinks that later there was a teacher that went around teaching people later and started teaching everybody the same way. Young people from here go to Europe and learn it that way. The Jauziak look better now in his opinion. When he dances with these people now he does it like they do, he has let go of some things he brought from over there.
8:01 In the Basque Country they danced waltz, paso doble, polka pik, jauziak. The young people danced the most. There was a day for old people called Zahar Eguna. They went up to sixty or maybe older. They did muxikoak, and then the town gave them a snack and they came doing Iantza Luzia to the plaza. They did it with pears when they had them. In Chino he was the one who held the pears. The old people then did the Muxikoak and then they went home. Jean Louis went in 1995 and 1997. He didn’t get to see the dances except for on Santiago they danced Sorgin Dantza on the altar during mass at consecration. They didn’t used to do that. It must be a new thing. He says every town seems to have something special for consecration like in Oñati on Corpus Christi.
10:30 In Chino they had dances at the hotel. They danced waltzes and polkas. They did not dance muxikoak. The accordionist was Italian. He knew the fandango, though. They did fandango and arin arin. The musicians are different now. A Basque-American musician named Grace from La Puente and her husband who was also a musician. They learned the music for the euskaldunak andsorginak and those dances. The husband was very good a the musical notation. Jean Louis sang and they made the musical notation on paper and they learned from that. They spent many hours working on the notation. In the early days of the dance group they didn’t have musicians, they used records from the Basque Country and sang. After this couple, they had musicians. Jean Louis never taught the kontra iantzak. In the very beginning, there was an old guy from Arnegi who played a little accordion. He taught them 2 very old kontra iantzak that Jean Louis had never seen before. His name was Loran Arretche. Jean Louis then taught those to the new accordionists and the group and they danced them for many years.
13:46 (Jean Louis sings the melody of one of the kontra Iantzak.) He tried to teach them once in Boise. He says the dances are lost now. They are very simple, but no one does them in La Puente or anywhere else anymore.
14:52 Jean Louis and Annie moved to Idaho in 1976. They were in a partnership in Chino and they split up. He wanted to buy a some land, but it is very expensive there, so they moved to Emmett, bought 40 acres and started a dairy farm. They sold it a year ago. Jean Louis had a friend, Bill Indart, who had a feedlot in Caldwell. He also knew the Mainvils. They didn’t become involved in the Basque community in Boise until they sold the cows and moved to Eagle. They got involved when Patty Miller came to their house one night. She got him involved with the Bihotzetik Basque choir. She came to their house with Begoña Pecharroman who was going to interview Annie. They started talking about a gaitzuria, a recipient to measure grain that was in the Basque museum. He said that in his part of the country they called it a gaitzuru. She had already approached him about joining the choir. He told her that if she could find a written reference to that item then he would join the choir. He says he thinks she was searching the dictionary until midnight and then called him and said, “OK, you’re in it.” That was about three years ago. They had wanted to get involved in the Basque community but earlier they had gone to the Basque center and they couldn’t find the right form to fill out and they never ended up going back to do it. There aren’t too many people in the area from Benafarroa and the ones there are don’t want to get too close to the “Bizkainos.” It is a different way of life and kind of a different culture. It was completely different from Chino. His kids came home from school in Idaho and said there were other Basque kids there but that they didn’t speak the same Basque. Jean Louis still has some difficulty understanding the Bizkaian dialect, but he does fine. He says the Basque people in the area have been very nice. About15 years ago John Ysursa approached him to teach some dances to the Oinkaris and he did teach them Maiena, Hegi, the Kontra Iantzak, and Zazpi Jauziak. Before they joined the choir they occasionally went to the Basque Center for the tripota and dances, but didn’t belong to any organization.
20:01 Now Jean Louis and Annie have their own cleaning business. They are the cleaning couple.
20:24 Jean Louis says that if they had stayed in the Basque Country he would probably have a red nose from drinking and she would be an old lady feeding the pigs. They were better off coming here.
20:54 The difference he notices between Chino and Boise are the same as those between Arnegi and Bizkaia. In the Basque Country he didn’t know people from Bizkaia. He knew a few boys from Gipuzkoa, but their Basque was not that different. He had heard in Chino that the Basque language in Boise was different but thought he could catch up - it’s hard to catch up. In the choir singing it was hard too. Songs he already knew were sung a little differently.
22:03 Urazandi project
22:12 END SIDE 1 (tape 2)
SIDE 2 - TAPE 2
0:08 The ikastola in Boise has been a good change. The kids will learn Basque and it’s good that they learn Batua because that’s the only way we’ll understand each other. It might take 100 more years for everybody to understand each other - it has to come from the little ones.
1:00 He is proud to be Basque and the culture. Basques are good and hard working people. He would never change it. NABO does a lot of good things. NABO is bringing Basques from both sides together. Being Basque and being American don’t compete for him, but he feels more Basque than American. On the street everybody knows he’s Basque.
2:25 When they started the cleaning business he realized that Basques had a very good reputation. A lot of their clients who know other Basque people just hand over their house keys - they trust them right away. Basques are trustworthy. He never felt so proud to be Basque as then.
3:10 Jean Louis was a janitor at a nursing home in Emmett and Annie was a cook after they sold the dairy farm. She cooked for 4 years and he worked as a janitor for 6 years. Everybody told them they could do better and they should get out of Emmett. They knew they could clean houses. They started out with one house and now they clean 40 houses. They don’t have any employees. They do 4 houses per day.
3:43 They are not members of Euskaldunak. The future of the Basques doesn’t look too great in Boise because nobody is coming from the Basque Country, it will probably die down. His kids probably won’t get involved in Basque activities. His oldest son danced with him in Chino.
5:28 The farm Hartchaina had been in his father’s family for many generations. The premu should have been his sister but she went to Uruguay, her boyfriend was already there, and then she came to the Unites States, to Chino. Jean Louis did the paperwork for them. The farmstead then passed to the next brother who never married, and remained there. He worked it by himself, he changed things. He stopped raising corn and made less hay , etc. When he died in a tractor accident they split it between the brothers and sisters over there. Another brother goes there on weekends now. It is no longer a working baserri. They lease a lot of the land around it. When it was still a working farmstead there were communal lands for grazing and ferns and you paid a little to use them.
7:15 They had work parties in the ganbara of the farmhouse and his father played the diatonic accordion and they danced. His mom danced, too, but she was usually busy with the smaller kids and would go to bed early. Their father stayed there with them and a bunch of people from the neighborhood until daylight. They all helped each other until they finished the hay and then they had a big fiesta. They made metak, or haystacks. Now they don’t do that anymore. They had a txabola on the mountain. He stayed there for a summer before he came to the states. He milked the sheep and sold the milk. Their uncle made cheese. A jeep used to come up the mountain and get the cheese and take it to a cheese factory.
9:06 The last summer he visited he saw his dance teacher from Borderia. He told him they don’t do those fiestas at the houses anymore. You worked hard, then you worked twice as hard dancing. His dad used to play zazpi jauziak but up to 14 - hamalau jauziak - and then back down. They used to do kadeira dantza with some chairs. It was pretty tricky; his dad taught them.
10:18 In the church of Santiago in Luzaide each family had a couple chairs. They paid for them and they paid a guy named Xantiko to clean the church. One gaitzuru for each chair. After Xantiko died they had to take turns cleaning the church. Each chair had a certain place.
11:06 END OF INTERVIEW
11:09 -12:34 Jean Louis sings the melodies of the two kontra iantzak taught to him by Loren Arretche. After that he and Annie taught Enrike and Lisa Corcostegui the steps in their kitchen.
NAMES AND PLACES
Salaberri from Lekorne
Bernardo from Borderia
Miguel Angel Sagaseta
Grace from La Puente
St. Jean le Vieux/Donazaharre
Lekuine, Lapurdi (Bonloc)