Ramon Echevarria

May 9th 1949. The group Los Borrachos, performing. From left to right:  Ramon (Ray) Echevarria (guitar), Tony Jausoro, Louie Jausoro, Johnny Elorriaga, Julian Lachiondo with Jimmy Jausoro (accordion).

Ramon was born in Boise, Idaho on March 13, 1932. He learned to play the accordion at a young age and also mastered the guitar, and the piano and had a beautiful singing voice.  Later in life he learned to play the txistu. Ray grew up in a musical family (his mother was an Arego) and music was always in the home.

Ramon was active in early Basque cultural activities in the 1940s in Idaho. He was one of the main musicians for the production, Song of the Basque in 1949 playing guitar in the "Los Borrachos" a men’s music group, along with the Jausoro brothers, Julian Lachiondo and John Elorriaga.  Ray (guitar), Jo Murelaga (accordion), and Bob Anacabe (pandareta) formed a trio that played for community and Basque events in various venues.  The trio often played at events at the Hillcrest Country Club.

 

He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1958 and was laicized in 1978, after which he embarked on a career as a clinical psychologist. He also was a member of the Board of Directors of the Basque Holiday Festival , part of the original Idaho Basque Studies Center, and organizer and director of Abeslariak, the first Basque choir in Boise, all in 1972. Ray did a txistu performance for the cultural night of the Holiday Basque Festival. According to Gloria Totoricaguena: "Father Echevarria’s enthusiasm had been instrumental in forming and maintaining the group of young musicians. His new religious assignment and relocation out of Boise left the group without an experienced choral director"1.

Wherever he went, Ray brought with him music, enjoyment, stories, and a vast knowledge of numerous subjects which he generously shared with everyone. Ramon passed away on August 10, 1997 at the age of 65 in Boise.

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

First Boise Basque Choir, AbeslariakJuanita Uberuga collection bk 82-1972-61-0009.

1948 – Murelaga, Echeverria , Letemendi, Bicandi.

Audio Recording: 
Txistu performance by father Echeverria in Holiday Basque Festival.