Erquiaga, Albert

John Bieter
Interview Location: 
Boise, Idaho
Interview Date: 

Al was born in Boise, Idaho on 21 August 1935 to Tomás Erquiaga and Anita Echevarria.  He grew up immersed in the Basque community, where he learned to celebrate the culture and heritage around him.  When they were children on the family's farm in Meridian, his father taught Al and his sister, Alice, to dance by singing and clapping for them.  When he was old enough for Basque dancing lessons, his father enrolled him in Juanita "Jay" Hormaechea's class.  It took a while for Albert to feel comfortable dancing in the class, but he came to love Basque dancing after performing at several music festivals and other events.

Al explains how he made the transition from a self-conscious boy in Ms. Hormaechea's class to one of the founding members of the Oinkari Basque Dancers in Boise.  He gives a detailed, personal account of the group's emergence, his love for music and dancing, and notes the contributions made by other Basques, both in the United States and Euskadi, to its development.

Active in the Boise Basque community, Al argues that music and dancing have played a central role in the preservation, exhibition, and celebration of the Basque culture in the area. Al has been instrumental in the success of the various Jaialdi Basque festivals in Boise, as artistic director of the performances at the Morrison Center.

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