Dolores Barroetabena Holbrook

1940s - Dolores Barroetabena playing accordion.

Dolores played during the war years with Angela Bicandi and Jimmy Jausoro and later on at the Basque Center of Boise after it was established in 1949. In the following years, she married, moved away from Boise and focused on raising her five children. She often played at the Delamar Boarding house, run by the Arguinchonas at 807 Grove Street.

She began taking lessons on the piano accordion at the age of twelve, in Boise, every Saturday morning for a year along with Jimmy Jausoro and Angela Bicandi. Even though the accordion teacher was not Basque, she still learned the old tunes from Basque Country by ear, listening to her mother singing. According to her, she was very popular with the sheepherders at the boarding house thanks to the old songs she had learned to play. She played Paso Dobles, Jotas and Porrusaldas, for dancing. Both she and her mother, Julia Lezundia (Jaio), used to entertain the sheepherders, Dolores on the accordion and her mother singing and playing tambourine.  

She also learned to play clarinet in school but never pursued the instrument further.

In 1940 Jon Bilbao came to Emmett because he could not get a dance group in Boise. He formed a group with the young Basque kids of Emmett but since there were not enough boys and girls they recruited two non-Basque boys and one girl. During the Idaho State Fair of 1940 they drove every night to Boise to dance there. They danced Jotas and Porrusaldas accompanied by Ambrosio Aparicio’s music. Dolores was one of the girls of that first dance troupe in Idaho, the Ezpata dancers.

Source: Personal interview with Dolores Barroetabena, 92 years old, June 2016.

Text by Eneko Tuduri.

1940s - Dolores Barroetabena.

1940s - Dolores Barroetabena - playing for a Basque gathering.