Ambrosio Apariasi

Ambrosio Apariasi on txistu with tamboril at the Sheepherder’s Ball, Riverside Dance Hall, Boise, Idaho.  Juanita Uberuaga Hormaechea Collection, Bk 8, 00379.

Ambrosio Apariasi Berrojalbiz was born in Mendata, Bizkaia on March 20, 1901.  He learned music theory and music in the town of Durango-Bizkaia, walking 25 km to attend classes by night. In addition to the txistu and the tamboril, he played the accordion.  As he didn't speak Spanish, he spent some time in "La Arboleda" (Bizkaia) studying the language.

He traveled to the United States leaving from the port of Marseille in 1919.  Naturalization records indicate that he arrived in New York on May 4, 1920.

By the late 1920s through the 1940s, Ambrosio was using his musical talents, playing txistu and drums at social events such as the Sheepherder’s Ball in the Boise, Idaho area.  In 1940, Ambrosio was asked to play txistu and tamboril for the newly-formed Emmett Basque Dancers, the first Basque-American dance troupe in Idaho.  Ambrosio was nick-named "Blackie" amongst the young Basque dancers of the group. He was a sheepherder in the hills and stayed in the Bicandi boarding house in Emmett. Ambrosio lived in the United States for 32 years (1919-1951). 

After returning to the Basque Country he formed a dance group at Albiz (Mendata) and this group continued to perform into the twenty-first century before disbanding.

Ambrosio had one sister, Maria Arambarri Berrojalbiz, who was adopted into his family and still has relatives living in the United States.

Ambrosio Apariasi continued to participate as a txistulari for festivals in Gernika and the surrounding villages until the time of his death.

1940 - Emmett "Ezpata" dance group formed by Jose Villanueva and Jon Bilbao; Members shown in picture are, left to right, back row: Joe Barroetabena, Tony Galdos, Luiz Arrizabla, Henry Garatea, Frank Garatea, John Eiguren, Raymond Foruria, John Beitia and Bernard Gratton. The musician was Ambrosio Aparicio. The girls int he front row are: Rosie Bilbao Noble, Joan Woods Sorenson, Irene Bicandi Anderson, Marie Basabe Robinson, Juanita Fundasuri Schiller, Annis Jayo Humphries, Connie Eiguren Beutler and Dolores Barroetabena Holbrook.

Dec. 1949 - Ambrosio Apariasi (txistu) and Jose Anacabe (drum) Sheepherder’s Ball, Riverside Dance Hall, Boise, Idaho. Juanita Uberuaga Hormaechea Collection, Bk 8, 00399.