2018-07-15 18:00 —
Between the 1st and the 8th of July, the Basque language and culture were seen and heard in LF2018, one of the European Capitals of Culture this year. A number of events were organised to make our culture known abroad: concerts, lectures, improvised oral poetry (Bertsolaritza) workshops, radio broadcasts, etc. The Etxepare Institute and Topagunea coordinated the cultural programme with Mirjam Vellinga, the person responsible for the Livingroom of Languages, MeM. Xabi Paya, Joxan Goikoetxea and Iosune Marin, on the other hand, were the artists selected to lead the Basque Week events.
As well as attending and supporting the above events by our Basque colleagues, Other Words contributed to the week's programme in two ways: on the one hand, the work team, made up of five members –Friesland, Ireland, Macedonia, Slovenia, Basque Country– held their yearly coordination and network meetings on the premises of our Frisian partner, Tresoar, between the 4th and the 6th of July; on the other hand, and at the end of the third day of meetings, the project representatives joined a number of guests for an Other Words event held at MeM.
The aim of the event, entitled 'Visions of the Basque Country through Frisian eyes (and words)', was to get together with some of the people that we have met through Other Words, and who have in turn got to know Euskal Herria (at least in part) thanks to our project.
We invited four people to join us on the stage: Bart Kingma and Gerard the Jong, two writers who carried out creative literature residencies in the Basque Country in 2016 and 2017; poet Elmar Kuiper, who spent a few days in and around San Sebastian at the end 2017 on the occasion of the Bertsolaris (Basque oral verse improvisers) competition final; and Mirjam Vellinga, of Afûk –an entity that promotes the Frisian language and culture–, who is well acquainted with a few Basque cultural projects –Donostia 2016 ECOC, Tosta, Other Words, Bertsolaritza–, as well as leading the Livingroom of Languages project.
Even though the focus was on words, the event also included some music, courtesy of Elmar Kuiper and his band, "Tigers fan Greonterp". In fact, as well as being a poet, Kuiper is the leader and singer of the "Frisian tigers", who made the transitions between conversations much more enjoyable. After a few tunes with the band, Elmar himself put the icing on the cake with a most unique cover version of the well-known Basque tune Euskal Herrian Euskaraz (Let Us Speak Basque in the Basque Country).
A very productive week at the beginning of a summer full of words, our won and those of others. We look forward to strengthening the current links between cultures with interesting projects that we hope to develop in the near future.