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Bertan > The Basque language > Ez dok amairu
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Ez dok amairu

Between 1956 and 1968, Franco's persecution of Basque eased somewhat. It was a period of mass industrialisation, creating a young working class with political and social concerns. Different individuals united behind the common goal of recovering the Basque language and Basque culture. New artists and songwriters emerged, who found ways of getting round the omnipresent censorship. Ikastolas began to proliferate, especially in Biscay and Gipuzkoa. In Arantzazu in 1968, Euskaltzaindia began the process of creating a unified language, euskera batua (unified Basque). This was one of the most vital and creative stages in Basque culture.

234. The magazine Jakin (1956) was promoted by a group of Franciscans from the Arantzazu Seminary. The subject matter ranged from teaching and religion to socio-political subjects. Banned from 1969 to 1977, it continued to appear as a bimonthly publication of thought and culture and organised the collection Jakin irakurgaiak. 235. In Paris, the Basque Government in exile organised the World Basque Congress in 1956 to discuss the politics, society, economy, culture and Diaspora of the Basque Country. Xabier Landaburu and Jokin Zaitegi called for the creation of a Standing Committee on the serious situation of Basque culture. 236. Pending official recognition, many ikastolas operated as academies or reached agreements with the Catholic church. The first ikastola was not legalised until 1966 —the Azkue ikastola in Bilbao— but in 1975, there were already 166 schools in the four Spanish territories, with a total of 30,000 pupils. Economic and legal difficulties converted them into a popular movement with participation from teachers, parents, and pupils. 237. In 1956, Euskaltzaindia held its First Congress at Arantzazu, resuming its work of standardisation with a new generation of collaborators. The magazine Euskera, which had been closed down since the war of 1936 was reissued. Contributors included Altube, Tovar, Villasante, Txillardegi, Lekuona, Mitxelena and Lafon. 238. New publishing houses began to appear: Auñamendi (1958), run by the Estornes Lasa brothers and Auspoa (1961), run by Antonio Zavala. The end of the 1960s saw the emergence of Gordailu, Lur, Irakur Sail, Etor, Jakin, Iker, Gero, Kardaberaz and Kriselu. 239. Itxaropena is one of the longest-running publishers of texts in Basque. Founded in Zarautz in 1932, it survived the war and from 1952 published the collection Kulixka Sorta, with classical Basquelanguage authors and those from new generations. It has published numerous translations of world literature as well as the General Illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Basque Country published by Auñamendi. 240. The sculptor Jorge Oteiza and his artistic and philosophical writings were –and continue to be – a leading reference point for the world of Basque culture. He founded the group Gaur (1966) and the Deba Art School (1970) to promote Basque art, by bringing all the disciplines together. He also provided the name for the group Ez Dok Amairu (literally "There is No Thirteen"), signifying that Basque culture had at last broken with its curse. 241. The 1960s saw an explosion in Basque art; examples include the Basque School Groups. One of the most influential of these groups was Gaur, which from 1966 included sculptors such as Eduardo Chillida, Nestor Basterretxea, Remigio Mendiburu and Jorge Oteiza himself, together with painters such as Jose Luis Zumeta and Jose Antonio Sistiaga. It was closely involved in cultural and political life. Chillida, for example, created the emblems and logotypes for the Basque University, the Non Nuclear Basque Coast campaign, the Pro-Amnesty Organisation and the Kutxa Savings Bank. 242. The group Ez Dok Amairu (1965-1973). Songs with lyrics of social and political protest were heard in dance halls, fields and festivals. Poets such as Lizardi, who used themes from traditional Basque songs and Joxe Anton Artze, Jexux Artze, José Angel Irigaray, Lourdes Iriondo, Mikel Laboa, Julen Lekuona, Benito Lertxundi and Xabier Lete, who composed new ones, all sang of the new Basque society's yearning for freedom. Poster by Nestor Basterretxea. 243. At Christmas 1956, the youth group of San Antonion celebrated the Coming of Olentzero, the traditional Basque seasonal present-giver. It was the first urban Olentzero festival to be held in the country under the Franco regime. 244. In 1965, the First Basque Book and Record Fair was held in the porch of a church in Durango, with 25 publishers invited by the Gerediaga Society and support from the four provincial governments of Alava, Biscay, Gipuzkoa and Navarre. Today the fair has become a major showcase and meeting place for Basque culture, with over 150 publishing houses and record labels and attracts 250,000 visitors each year. 245. The singer-songwriter Lourdes Iriondo (Donostia/San Sebastian, 1937-2005). 246. The poet and singer-songwriter Xabier Lete (Oiartzun, 1944- 2011) began working at an early age with Zeruko Argia. With the group Ez Dok Amairu he helped lead a revival of Basque song and popularised Basque-language poetry. From his first collection of poems Egunetik egunera orduen gurpilean (1968) to the last, Egunsentiaren esku izoztuak (2008) Lete's verse speaks of his primary interests: love, death, politics and the Basque Country.
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