North American Basque Organizations
  A federation of organizations to sustain BASQUE culture


  Izan ziralako, gara, eta garalako izango dira  
"Because they were, we are, and because we are they will be"
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ño Nuevo!

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ël et
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KANTUKETAN EXHIBIT: "In Quest of Singing"
Celebration of Basque Language & Song

NABO, with the collaboration of the Basque Autonomous Government of Euskadi, the Euskal Kultur Erakundea and the Boise Basque Museum & Cultural Center, a special audio-visual exhibition now exhibits that celebrates Basque language and song. This is part of GUREA: NABOs Basque Cultural Literacy Project.


The decorative panels (3' x 6') of the headphone listening stations:










Basques love to sing: it is one of the most distinguishing elements of Basque culture.  Song accompanies important moments, deftly sweeping aside geographical barriers and differences of dialect, creating an atmosphere of shared time and place as voices join together. 

Nevertheless, the social practice of singing in Basque, though incontestably dynamic, has today been somewhat affected by a dwindling of collective memory and a lack of effective means of transmission. 

The original, actual exhibition (pictured here) prepared by EKE was quite extensive and took a whole large room.

This was not feasible for most of our Basque events, most of which are held outdoors.  What we are preparing is essentially six listening stations with headphones and touch screen monitors with a wide assortment of musical samples.

When displayed outdoors, it will be sheltered by portable tents.  To see these click on: NABO Booth

“Kantuketan” (In Quest of Singing) originated as part of an overall effort by the EUSKAL KULTUR ERAKUNDEA (Basque Cultural Institute) to reverse the trend of less singing in Basque.  Their aim was to conserve a heritage and pass it on. This cultural organization of the Iparralde or north side of the Basque Country graciously offered to share their exhibit with the North American Basque Organizations, Inc (N.A.B.O.) and the Basque-American community. 

This is a sample of the NABO listening stations; there are three of these.  Each will allow two people to listen to their musical choices making for six listening stations all together.

To find out about having this nearby, click on Hosting Kantuketan

EKE's original "Kantuketan" display was quite extensive and took a large room to exhibit.  Something on this scale was not feasible for most of our Basque events, where space might be limited and often outdoor settings. What NABO has prepared is something similar (using the interactive program created by the EKE and their shared images as shown in the decorative panels at left) with six headphone-listening stations and touch screen monitors with a wide assortment of musical samples from traditional tunes all the way to hard rock.

NON IKUS DAITEKE? Where to see the exhibit:

NABO is divided into four geographic regions and this exhibit will reach each of those over the next year and a half in an effort to make it more accessible to more Basque communities--that's right it's coming your way:

West: San Francisco (Feb. 2007)
Central: Winnemucca (June 2007)
South: Chino (Sept 2008)
North: Boise Museum (where it will reside when not touring) 

This exhibit is an ongoing effort to reconnect with our collective Basque memory and to promote Basque singing to a new generation.  To bring you Kantuketan we have partnered with EUSKO JAURLARITZA--the Autonomous Basque Government of Euskadi--which has through the years demonstrated consistent support of efforts to promote Basque culture throughout the Basque Diaspora or Basque immigrant communities around the world.   We have also joined forces with the BASQUE MUSEUM & CULTURAL CENTER of Boise, Idaho, where this exhibit will reside when not touring.

Complementing the music listening stations are two display units with a dozen large panels (each 20" x 6').  These serve to decorate and define the exhibit (samples shown here), but there is also an educational component included.

Additional panels provide brief introductions to the topics of Basques and their homeland, the Basque language, Basques in America, NABO and its activities, etc.  Since Basques and non-Basques will view these, it represents an educational opportunity.

Thus the "Kantuketan" exhibit is an effort to follow through on NABO's motto of Recreation + Education = Perpetuation.

The aim is to make this exhibit widely accessible but that presents problems because of the often great distances from one Basque community to another and the volume of material that needs to be transported.  The short-term goal is to display the exhibit in all four NABO geographic regions.  The exhibit will open in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center (Western region) the weekend of Feb. 16-18.  Later this year "Kantuketan" will be exhibited at our annual NABO Convention in Winnemucca, NV (June 8-10) in the central region; the following year the exhibit will be at the NABO Convention in Chino, CA (South region) during Labor Day weekend.  When not touring, the exhibit will be on display at the Boise Basque Museum & Cultural Center (North region).

To find out about having this nearby, click on Hosting Kantuketan

Special thanks to these folks for their contributions: John BIETER, Lisa CORCOSTEGUI, Joseba ETXARRI, Pantxoa ETXEGOIN, Jean FLESHER, Mary GAZTAMBIDE, Dave GREEN, Izar IRIBARREN-GORRIONDO, Jakes LARRE, Josu LEGARRETA, Benan OREGI, Ramon & Begona YSURSA & Genevieve YSURSA.   MIL ESKER!


For Basque culture to endure we'll need to find a viable balance between the fun of being Basque (e.g., festivals) and knowing something more about what being Basque is about.  That is why NABO is following the motto Recreate + Educate = Perpetuate

The educate part of the equation is being developed in our GUREA Cultural Literacy program.  Gurea is Basque for "it's ours."

To learn more about the exhibition click on:


Recreate + Educate = Perpetuate is the website of the North American Basque Organizations, Inc. (N.A.B.O.) a federation of organizations for the promotion of Basque culture. Helping to make this website possible is the Basque Autonomous Government of Euskadi.  Please send inquiries to  For links to all our pages on this website click on SITEMAP