View Full Version : NEA National Heritage Fellowships

06-19-2019, 04:57 PM
This is at most tangential -- really, pretty much off-topic, for the genetic and genealogical interest that largely drives this forum. But I wanted to post a notice about these annual awards, because the 2019 list (just announced) includes a Basque American performing artist. That's fairly rare, since Basques are a very small cultural minority group in the USA. But there actually is a lot of interest in them on Anthrogenica; and if I post the award information here (where it belongs), I can link it on some thread in the R1b-DF27 forum (where many members of the Basque interest group might reasonably be expected to run across it). So, here is the main announcement, with the complete list of this year's winners: https://www.arts.gov/news/2019/national-endowment-arts-announces-2019-nea-national-heritage-fellows?fbclid=IwAR1hqhssTzQ29Y1aZiDxXK1_9w0PW12Zg 2xJ465zRb_ySv39YDq8xjRhB_4

And here is the brief biographical entry for the specifically Basque 2019 winner: https://www.arts.gov/honors/heritage/fellows/dan-ansotegui

I'd like to quote a short passage from this entry, highlighting two institutional names as a frame of reference for a more extended comment.
With friend Chris Bieter, Ansotegui formed the Basque rock band Ordago in 1987. His next endeavor, a Basque folk band, Gaupasa, was formed in 1997 and represented Idaho at the National Folk Festival in Ohio. In 2006, Ansotegui and Sean Aucutt were inspired to create the band Amuma Says No. In 2016, both Amuma Says No and the Oinkari Dancers performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival that featured Basques from their homeland and as a diaspora.

During my misspent youth I was (among other career moves) part of the DC-based management team at both of those major festivals, between 1970 and 1982. While we didn't do a Basque presentation on the National Mall or at Wolf Trap Farm Park, during my tenure, I did have the pleasure of spending about half a day with a prominent member (Jean Urruty) of the Basque community in western Colorado, while scouting for participants for the Smithsonian's 1975 folklife programming in the Biosphere (built as the US pavilion for the 1967 Montreal Expo). These little nods of the head toward Basque American culture don't come around too often, but they do come around.