Jim Jausoro Orchestra

Jim Jausoro Orchestra

Jimmy Jausoro at accordion, Domingo Ansotegui at drums, Dick Lenhardt at trumpet, and Skip at Saxophone. Juanita Uberuaga Hormaechea Collection, bk 44, 115.

The Jim Jausoro Orchestra was established in 1957, playing both traditional Basque and contemporary music. The band played for weddings, Basque dances, and many social gatherings like picnics, in Idaho, (Boise, Nampa, Emmett, Mountain Home, Caldwell, Homedale, Grandview/Bruneau, Twin Falls) Nevada (Elko, Ely, Winnemucca) and Oregon (Ontario, Burns, Jordan Valley).

The band was established in 1957, with its first performance on November 16. The original band included Jimmy Jausoro, Domingo Ansotegui, Dick Lenhardt and Johnny Arregui.

Original band members:

Jimmy Jausoro, Piano accordion. Jim Jausoro began playing at the age of 13 by teaching himself the button accordion. At 13 years of age, Jim switched to the piano accordion and soon was playing in the many Basque boarding houses in the Nampa/Boise area. In 1946, he began playing for the children’s dance practices. Sixty years later, Jimmy continued playing for the children’s groups in Boise and Caldwell. He has also accompanied the Oinkari Basque Dancers of Boise from their inception in 1960 until his death in 2004.

Domingo Ansotegui, Drums and pandereta (tambourine). Began playing the button accordion at 18 years of age in the sheep camps he worked, learning different Basque tunes from the herders who came from the Basque Country. Jim Jausoro and Dom were longtime friends and would often play together with Domingo playing pandereta (tambourine). Dom first started playing drums when Jimmy bought a small drum set from the local pawn shop and asked him to play them for the Emmett Basque Dance in 1956. Domingo continued playing tambourine and drums for the Jim Jausoro Orchestra, with the Oinkari Basque Dancers and with the young Basque dancers (Boise’ko Gasteak) until his death in 1984.

Dick Lenhardt, Trumpet. Was playing trumpet in the burlesque houses of St. Louis at age of 15 and found his way to Boise in 1944. When it came time for Jim’s band to add the trumpet, Johnny Arregui mentioned Dick’s name, and in 1957, Dick was adopted into the Basque Community, playing the trumpet and later trombone.

Johnny Arregui, Alto saxophone. He was a self-taught musician, playing the alto saxophone by ear. He began playing with Jim Jausoro in the late 40s for various Basque dances. He played with the Jim Jausoro Orchestra from its inception until 1975. Johnny died in 1976. His beautiful harmonies heard on the early recordings were his trademark. He and his music are well remembered among the Basques of Boise.

Other Band Members:

Ray "Skip" Hoover, (after 1975) Tenor saxophone, trumpet and clarinet.  Skip started playing music by learning the banjo and ukulele at age 14. He started playing clarinet at 19. In 1975, he began playing with the Jim Jausoro Orchestra and currently plays tenor saxophone, trumpet, and clarinet. Before playing with Jim Jausoro, Skip had played in the Air Force band during the war. After the war, Skip played saxophone and clarinet for the Men in Blue and Kelland Clark as well as with the Gib Hochstrasser Orchestra for whom he played from time to time.

Juan Zulaica, (after 1984). Pandereta and vocals. He began playing pandereta with the Jim Jausoro Orchestra after the death of Domingo Ansotegui in 1984. He was born in the town of Mendaro in Gipuzkoa. As a small boy, Juan would sing and play the pandareta by himself in the hills surrounding the town. He was too little to hold it in his left hand and play it with his right, so he learned to play it reverse style. Juan used to play with his “left-handed” style. He stopped playing at the age of 15 and didn’t pick up again until he was 29 and in America herding sheep. Juan had played pandereta and sang some vocals for the orchestra from 1984 until 2001. Juan also acted as a primary musician, playing pandereta for the Oinkari Basque dancers from 1984 until 2006.


Dan Ansotegui, (after 1984) Drums. Began playing drums for Jim’s orchestra shortly after his father had passed away in 1984. Jim asked Dan to play for an upcoming wedding on his father’s drum set. When Dan replied that he really didn’t know how to play the drums, Jimmy answered, “That’s okay, neither did your dad when he started playing with the band.”

In 1962 the band recorded a 45 r.p.m album with songs such as IrrintziPorrusalda and Jota, that hundreds of Basques have listened and danced to over the years. Permission was granted for the songs from this record to be re-recorded in 1995 on the Basque Music of Boise CD produced by the Basque Museum & Cultural Center. 

Jimmy Jausoro’s orchestra has reached the status of a band whose legacy has contributed to the Basque family culture of Boise. The band’s commitment over decades is one of the keys to understanding today’s Basque culture in Boise. According to author Gloria Totoricaguena, Oinkari president John Aldape III wrote; “The entire structure of Basque activities in Boise would be so different were it not for the contributions of Jimmy Jausoro”. 1

 “They began their decades-long career together at the Euzkaldunak Incorporated Anniversary Dinner and Dance on November 16, 1957. No one knows, or even ventures a guess, as to how many thousands of miles these four men and their wives traveled together. From December through April, most of Friday and Saturdays nights were booked at Basques dances and Sheepdherders Balls…[The month of] May gave them enough time for a quick breath before the wedding season and the Basques picnics and festivals started up again June through September”. 2

For more than twenty-five years, “Jimmy and Domingo provided music and entertainment for the Basque folk dance groups of children and the Oinkaris. Another twenty-five years later, Jimmy tirelessly continued to provide music accompaniment to the Boiseko Gazteak and the Oinkari Basque Dancers with his tambourine player, Juan Zulaica”. 3


Voice of the Basques, December 1975, Vol. 2 Number 1.

1, 2, 3 Totoricaguena Egurrola, Gloria; Boise Basques: Dreamers and doers. Vitoria Gasteiz: Central Publications Service of the Basque Government, 2002.

4, Musician's Night. The Music & Stories. CD, Basque Museum & Cultural Center, March 1st, 2004. 

5, Basque Music of Boise, Tradizioa Bizirik...The tradition lives!, CD, Basque Museum & Cultural Center, 1995.

1973 - L.R., Louie Totorica holding a flag, Jim Jausoro, Dick Lenhardt, Domingo Ansotegui Johnny Arregui. Juanita Uberuaga Hormaechea Collection, bk 44, 64.

1973 - Annual sheepherders ball in Mountain Home, Saturday, January 13. Juanita Hormaechea Uberuaga Collection, 01013, bk 62, 1973.

1972- Poster announcing a Dance on Ontario, Feb. 26 from 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Juanita Uberuaga Hormaechea Collection, 61-00069, bk 82, 1972.

Text by Eneko Tuduri.

Audio Recording: 
Jimmy Jausoro speaking about the formation of the band with Dan Ansotegui and Juan Zulaica, 4.
Dan Ansotegui speaking about his father and how he get into the band, 4.
Irrintzi (A. Boyd Urquiaga) and Jota from Vintage J.Jausoro Orchestra, 5.
Porrusalda (1:40) Vintage J.Jausoro & His Orchestra, 5.
Jimmy Jausoro Band – Sheepherders Ball or Christmas Dance with Jonhy Arregui at saxophone.