What’s a typical day at the Folklife Festival? It’s tasting a new dish you’ve never even heard of, dancing a dance even if you’re shy, learning new words by singing along and by playing games, enjoying a spontaneous creative collaboration, and waiting for the inevitable thunderstorm. Today the Festival continued with all these elements and more.
The Rodriguezes and the Arrow-weeds pose after the “Native Song Traditions” performance on the Sounds of California Stage & Plaza. Photo by Francisco Guerra, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
The Joaldunak and Grupo Nuu Yuku, traditional parade groups from Basque country and California, met for this first time this morning to discuss potential collaboration. Joaldunak presenter Unai Bereau, examined one of the
diablos masks. Photo by Pruitt Allen, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
César Alcoz brought ironworking tools from Basque country and borrowed a forge from the Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac. Photo by Pruitt Allen, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
Alex Vásquez has been demonstrating his mask making skills in La Cueva, chiseling away at large blocks of wood. Slowly faces emerge. Photo by Pruitt Allen, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
This is the finished product of Alex’s work, masks worn by Grupo Nuu Yuku. Each dancer personalizes their own mask. Photo by Pruitt Allen, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
Gauden Bat is a Basque American dance group from Chino, California. Their name translated in Euskara to “let us be one.” Photo by Francisco Guerra, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
The members of Gauden Bat range in age from fourteen to thirty. Today they brought their intricate steps and costumes to the Musika eta Dantza Etxea. Photo by Francisco Guerra, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
Singers from the Biotzetik Basque Choir from Boise, Idaho, led a Basque song session for children in the Txiki-Txoko Kids’ Corner. Photo by Pruitt Allen, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
Sounds of California presenter and former Smithsonian Folkways Recordings director, shares a moment with FandangObon instrument maker Ramón Gutiérrez. Photo by Josh Weilepp, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
This is the first year the Festival Marketplace has been inside the Arts and Industries Building, which has been shuttered for twelve years. Inside you’ll find crafts by Basque and Californian artists, plus merchandise from past Festivals. Photo by Olivia Boyle, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
The festivities continue through the holiday weekend. On Saturday we salute the Basque diaspora from across the United States, welcoming groups from California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, including the
Oinkari Basque Dancers, Gauden Bat, and the Utah’Ko Triskalariak Dancers.
In our corner of California, Native Californians and Basque Californians will sing and speak about
preserving language through music, Radio Bilingüe will interview Festival participants for an episode of “Línea Abierta,” and Alex Vásquez will carve more devilish masks. Stick around for the Saturday evening concert with Quetzal and Meklit.
On the Move features presentation on Chinese American forced relocations, Basque American arbor glyphs, and more.
See the full schedule online.
Elisa Hough is the editor for the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.