San Francisco Klika

1981 - San Francisco Klika.

“The oldest klika or Basque drum and bugle corps in the country was established and organized by Federic Fuldain1 in San Francisco in the spring of 1964 as part of the Basque Club. The San Francisco klika is the only one in the U.S. that incorporates the corde chasse, or French horn.

According to Federic Fouldain, “Many Basques played the bugle, trumpet, or drum in the French Army or in the local “klika” of their village. This group was easier to organize than the dancers since they already had the acquired experience and discipline”. Simon Toulouse helped him to obtain the drums of a band. The club purchased the bugles through Charles Iriart and they were brought to San Francisco by a group of Basque immigrants. “Jean Baptiste Saparart painted the ‘Zazpiak Bat’ on the bass drum and the colors of the Basque flag on the others”.

Alphonse Acheritogaray became the first director of the San Francisco klika group, and on June 7, 1964, the band debuted at the Basque Club’s annual picnic. That year the Basque klika also performed at the Bastille Day festival, the Woolgrowers Picnic in Bakersfield, the first Basque Festival in Elko, and the Columbus Day Parade in San Francisco on October 11th.

Acheritogaray played in the klika through 1996. In the beginning, the San Francisco klika used to practice at the Union Espanola’s clubhouse […]. Among the original members of the 1964 klika were Benat Iribarren, Pettan Lahargou, Jean Baptiste Guecamburu, Sebastian Curutchet, Jean Pierre Poydessus, Jean Pierre Espil, Pepito Oxandaburu, Bernard Maitia and Jean Pierre Negueloua.

The klika has also been directed by many individuals over the years, including Arnaud Duhart, Felix Ahuncain, Albert Dutaret, Guillaume Irola, Jean Paul Idiart, Pierre Labat, Edouard Dunat, Johnny Curutchet, Jean Barreneche, Emile Goyhenetche, Maurice Negueloua, Alain Saldumbide, Chris Bonson, Christophe Alfaro, Aitor Berrueta and Mark Sorhouet2.”

In 2014 the San Francisco klika celebrated 50 years at the Basque Cultural Center of San Francisco, with fifty players from all fifty years. Three women appear in the anniversary photo. Denise Azcona Waligora was the first girl in the San Francisco Klika followed by Anne Marie Goyhenetche, both playing the cymbals. Later on, Aimee Goyhenetche followed as the only woman in the klika playing the bugle.  Klikas have typically played just two or three songs, including “A vous les jeunes” and “Beret rouge”3.

1 Frederic Fuldain immigrated to Bakersfield in 1951, and later moved to San Francisco. Fuldain founded the San Francisco Basque Club’s dance group and klika band and also organized the club’s first mus and pilota tournaments. Among his many lifetime accomplishments were his many terms as president and director of the Basque Center of San Francisco and also receiving recognition as a wood artisan and Basque historian. He was honored for his contribution to the Basque culture in the Bay area several times by the French government, the Basque Cultural Center and the Society of Basque Studies in America.

2 Oiarzabal, Pedro J: Gardeners of Identity, Basques in the San Francisco Bay Area. Uranzadi collection, 2009.

3 Euskal kazeta, Nancy Zubiri, February 2014.All the colour photos are part of the Urazandi collection and get from the Oroitzapenak, A Forty Year Retrospective of the San Francisco Basque Club, 2000. The black and white photos are from the Gardeners of Identity, Basques in the San Francisco Bay Area.


To know more about the Urazandi collection please visit this webpage

1964 - Original members of the San Francisco Klika, in the founding year. Kneeling (from left to right): Frederic Fuldain, Pepito Oxandaburu, Jean Guecamburu, Jean Baptiste Saparart, Jean Acheritogaray, Michel Arduain, Jean Pierre Aldabe and Pierre Espil. Standing (from left to right): Jean Pierre Negueloua, Jean Leon Ocafrain, Michel Oyharcabal, Raymond Bidondo, Sebastian Curutchet, Arnaud Mendisco, Leon Chouchourou, Andre Arduain, Pierre Etchebere, Alphonse Acheritogaray, Jean Pierre Poydessus, Rene Arduain, Felix Ahuncain JacquesOyharcabal, Jean Louis Arduain, Jean Pierre Goyhenetche, Pettan Lahargou, Jean Baptiste Urruty, Jean Baptiste Guecamburu (holding flag and obstructed), Arnaud Duhart, Paul Castech and Jean Leon Iribarren. Holding banner (from left to right); Bernard Maitia and Pierre Etcharren. Photograph courtesy of San Francisco Urazandi collection. Text from 2.

1993 - Closeup of the San Francisco Basque Club Klika memebers. 

1998 - San Francisco Klika "Cor de Chasse" (French Horn) players in the Basque Center.

1995 - The banda, with Jean Louis Curutchet at accordion practicing for the San Francisco Picnic.

2008 - Aimee Goyhenetche playing bugle.