Valerie Etcharren Arrechea

Valerie Etcharren Arrechea was born in San Francisco in 1970, the daughter of Pierre Etcharren and Denise (Birabent) Etcharren.  She began playing txistu in 1978 as part of the children's banda started and taught by Alain Erdozaincy.  This txistu banda continued through the 1980s.  She began teaching dance in 1984, and has serving the Basque community since 1986 as the dance director for the children’s dance group, Gazteak Dantzariak, and the Zazpiak Bat Group since 1987.  Valerie began playing txistu for the Gazteak dance group in 1985, and for the Zazpiak Bat dancers in 1987.  In 1994 Aita Martxel Tillous, a txistulari, became the Basque Chaplain in the United States based out of the Basque Cultural Center.  He encouraged the local txistularis to recommit to a regular txistu banda.  During that time Valerie also began to play as the exclusive musician to the Zazpiak Bat dance group.  She continues to  do so, playing often with Caroline Izoco Chiramberro  -- another txistulari originally from Gardnerville, NV and now living in Pacifica, CA.

She has held many roles in the San Francisco Basque Club, serving as director (1988 - present day), Vice-president (1991 - 1993), and President (1993- 1996) and Secretary (2000-2013), and NABO delegate (1990-2009). In addition, she has been very active at the Basque Cultural Center, serving as director (1995-present day), Secretary (2000 and 2007), and President.  As the daughter of a founder and past president of NABO, Valerie has grown up with the organization.  She became involved as Udaleku chairman in the late 1980's and has served in that capacity ever since.  She was voted President of NABO in 2009, and holds the office through present day (2017).   Valerie has three children who, like her, have grown up amid the cultural activities of the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center.

2016, July - Valerie Etcharren Arrechea - Smithsonian Folklife Festival, D.C.