Janice Mainvil

2016, July - Smithsonian Folk Festival, Washington DC, Janice Mainvil playing for the Biotzetik Basque Choir.

Janice started playing flute in 5th grade band in 1972. It was during her elementary school years that Janice was introduced to Basque instruments – the txistu and accordion. She attended Basque Music Camps (Boise 1974, 1975, Elko 1976) when under the instruction of Jon Onatibia, Jimmy Jausoro and Bernardo Yanci, she learned many traditional txistu and accordion tunes. Whether for Basque cultural performances in either Ontario, Oregon or Boise, Idaho, she continued playing txistu and accordion – extending accordion skills with Harley Rott in Boise. In the mid-late 1970’s, Jimmy Jausoro formed a small group of local young musicians to continue with accordion and txistu practice. This group performed at Basque events, nursing homes, and folk entertainment venues, including Elkhorn outside Ketchum, Idaho.

Overlapping this same time, Janice was involved in the children’s dance groups of each respective Basque club – starting in Chino, CA, to Ontario, OR, then Boise ID. In 1977, she joined the Oinkari Basque Dancers and a few years later was encouraged by Jimmy to play music for a few dances, including Onati dances performed for San Inazio in 1981. It was in 1983 that Janice, joining with Cathy Clarkson, began regularly accompanying the Oinkari Dancers with txistu & tambolin (drum) for rehearsals and performances.  Janice studied txistu in the Basque Country in 1983-84 and upon graduation from college, she would balance time between dancing and playing txistu for Oinkaris. For Jaialdi ’87 and ’90 festivals, she transitioned temporarily to silbote (the bass txistu) to perform as a 4-person txistulari band member with Cathy Clarkson, Josie Bilbao and Dan Ansotegui. Janice played txistu regularly until her retirement from the dance group in 1993. An Oinkari trip to Washington DC in 1994 brought her briefly out of retirement where she played with fellow txistulari Josie Bilbao.

Janice has been a part of the Biotzetik Basque Choir since its founding in 1986. Interested in continuing Basque language skills and extending her music experience, Janice enjoyed learning folk songs, practicing harmonies, and preparing 4-part a cappella selections. The group travels to many folk festivals and Basque conventions as well as for Catholic Masses for festivals, weddings and funerals. She sang until 1998, at which time she took time off to raise her children. She returned to the choir in 2013, serving as president since 2015.  She accompanies the choir on txistu for certain pieces – which was needed for a recent Washington DC group trip to the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

When her kids joined Boise’ko Gazteak, Boise’s Euzkaldunak children’s dance group, Janice volunteered as a musician for the Nagusiak (ages 11-14) group – reuniting with accordionist Jimmy Jausoro.  Additionally, with her children involved in Txantxangorriak, a local trikitixa (diatonic accordion) and pandero (tambourine) group, she learned the basics of playing Basque tambourine rhythms. She played txistu and accompanied Boise’ko accordion players on pandero from 1999 – 2012.

A Basque memorial Mass, Omenaldia, is held annually to remember those of the Basque community who have passed away during the year. A memorial acclamation dance, San Juan, is accompanied by txistularis Janice Mainvil and/or Cathy Clarkson. Janice has been involved since 2007.

Since 2012, Janice has presented Basque cultural workshops for a local elementary school as well as Basque music-focused high school classes. She’s happy to educate and promote Basque music and cultural traditions through the Basque Museum & Cultural Center.

Source: Writen by Janice Mainvil.

1983 - NABO Convention, Cathy Clarkson & Janice Mainvil. Also Jim Jausoro and Dom Ansotegui in a second term.

1987, June - Cathy Clarkson, Janice Mainvil,  and Josie Bilbao in the first Jaialdi opening ceremonies.