Art Works Blog

Celebrate 2019 NEA National Heritage Fellow Dan Ansotegui!

Basque Musician and Tradition Bearer Dan Ansotegui was raised by the scents and tastes of his mother’s cooking and the sound of his father’s music. The music came from the accordion and the aromas that filled the house were brought to this country by his grandmother Epi. His exposure to the traditions of the Basque Country prepared him for a life of immersive study, commitment to preservation, and a talent for performance. Through his role as master, mentor, and entrepreneur, Ansotegui is a bearer of Basque music, dance, and foodways traditions that contribute to the creative growth and sustainability of his cultural community.

Ansotegui began dancing at six, taught, as many Basque children in the Boise area were, by Juanita Ormaechea and Anne Boyd while his father, Domingo, and friend Jimmy Jausoro (1985 National Heritage Fellow) played music for the dancers. At 14 he began dancing with Boise’s Oinkari Basque Dancers. A trip to Spain in 1982 introduced him to the trikitixa, the diatonic button accordion, and in 1990, he was invited by trikitixa master Joseba Tapia to the Basque Country as an apprentice. Ansotegui’s children started dancing for the Oinkaris in 2000, and he rejoined the group as a musician playing txistu, a Basque fife, and trikitixa. His mastery of the trikitixa earned him the 2001 Idaho Heritage Award, the 2004 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Traditional Arts, and an honorable mention in the 2010 Fellowship Awards for Performance through the Idaho Commission on the Arts. MORE...

Join us as we celebrate Dan Ansotegui and the other 2019 NEA National Heritage Fellows at a free concert on Friday, September 20 at 8:00 PM ET. Watch live at Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall or online at Find ticket and other information here.

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