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Bertan > The Basque language > A new cultural universe
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A new cultural universe


By the end of the twentieth century, the Basque language had reached a highpoint of cultural creativity. Over the last two decades of the twentieth century, the world of Basque literature boasted some internationally renowned writers and, as elsewhere, the former avant-gardes gave way to a new realism. In the field of music, the 1980s saw the birth of Radical Basque Rock with a host of groups, discs and concerts in Basque. This panorama of new cultural offerings in Basque between 1980 and 2000 was further complemented by theatre productions and consolidated drama companies.

362. Two essential elements in today's Basque literary system were first created in the 1980s: the association of writers, EIE (Euskal Idazleen Elkartea) created in 1982 and the association of translators, EIZIE (Euskal Itzultzaile, Zuzentzaile eta Interpreteen Elkartea), founded in 1987. 363. In 1988 Bernardo Atxaga (real name Joseba Irazu, Asteasu, 1951) wrote Obabakoak, a book that was to leave its mark on the rest of the decade and the years following. Although Atxaga's universe had already been seen in previous short stories, Obabakoak marked a milestone in contemporary Basque Literature. It was the first work in Basque to obtain the Spanish National Prize for Fiction. Translated into 26 languages, the author became Basque's top prize-winner and its best known author outside the Basque Country. 364. Joan Mari Irigoien (Donostia/San Sebastian, 1948) wrote in the genre of magic realism (in vogue during the decade) with his family sagas Oilarraren promesa, Poliedroaren hostoak, Babilonia, and Lur bat haratago. 365. Itxaro Borda (Baiona, 1959.) Poet and columnist, associated with the literary magazine Maiatz, she published her first book in 1984, Bizitza nola badoa. Her novel %100 basque won her the Euskadi Prize in 2002. Over the last twenty years, she has published novels, poetry, articles and essays, and has also written songs for Basque groups. 366. Anjel Lertxundi (Orio, 1948) is one of the great names in Basque fiction. With Hamaseigarrenean, aidanez (1983) he broke away from the idyllic vision of the rural Basque world, to show the loneliness of a woman condemned to live in this environment. Other novels were to follow (Tobacco Days, Otto Pette) as well as key collections in literature for children and young adults such as Madame Kontxesi-Uribe and Brigada & Detektibe. In 2010, he won the National Essay Prize with Eskarmentuaren paperak. 367. Joseba Sarrionandia (Iurreta, 1958), writer, philologist, translator and co-founder of the literary group Pott, was imprisoned for membership of ETA from 1980. He escaped prison in 1985. He writes poetry, fiction and essays and also experiments with hybrid texts: Ni ez naiz hemengoa, Ez gara geure baitakoak and Han izanik hona naiz. Others works by the author reveal him as one of the best narrators on today's literary scene: Narrazioak, Kettledrum eta euria, and novels such as Lagun Izoztua and Kolosala izango da. 368. Niko Etxart (Altzürükü, Soule, 1953) with his group Minxoriak was one of the pioneers of rock-and-roll in Basque. An eclectic musician, he has also recorded and sung traditional songs and composed the music for three pastorales. 369. The theatre company Maskarada was set up in 80 in an attempt to professionalise theatre in Basque and provide it with its own aesthetic features. Along with the groups Kukubiltxo, Geroa, Cómicos de la Legua and Akelarre, they were the pioneers of today's Basque theatre. 370. The Internet portal Armiarma.com, which specialises in Basque writers, publishes texts, mentions, criticisms, bibliography, a library of verses and poems and a compilation of classics in Basque (Klasikoen Gordailua). 371. The website Basqueliterature.com, run by EIZIE, is another major window on the world for Basque literature. 372. The Radical Basque Rock movement revolutionised the music scene in the Basque Country, with groups composing and singing in Basque, in a rock and punk idiom. Leading figures included Zarama, Delirium Tremens and Kortatu, whose lead singer Fermin Muguruza went on to form Negu Gorriak. 373. The two leading bands of the time were the pop-rock group Hertzainak and Itoiz. Both groups conveyed the concerns of an entire generation through quality music in Basque. 374. The literary magazine Susa was founded in the 1980s to publish books of poetry. In the 1990s, it continued to promote new Basque-speaking poets, such as Lubaki banda, which included Harkaitz Cano, Asier Serrano, Garikoitz Berasaluze, Xabier Gantzarain, Josu Goikoetxea, Arantxa Irigoien and Xabier Aldai. 375. Axari dantza. Traditional dance continues to be popular on the Basque cultural stage. Since 1992, the Ikerfolk institute has conducted important folklore research on a range of aspects, including the Basque language. The leading dance group is Argia, directed by Juan Antonio Urbeltz since the mid-1960s. 376. Along with Juan Luis Zabala, author of novels such as Zigarrokin ziztrin baten azken keak and Kaka esplikatzen, the modernist and stylistic fiction has its representative in Pello Lizarralde, writer of novels (Larrepetit) and short stories (Sargori). 377. With official backing from the Basque Government a number of films were made during this period in what has become known as Cine Vasco, including La fuga de Segovia (1981), La muerte de Mikel (1984) by Imanol Uribe and Tasio (1984) by Montxo Armendáriz. 378. Arantxa Iturbe (Alegia 1964) and Xabier Montoia (Vitoria / Gasteiz 1955), are examples of the new Basque-language fiction. Iturbe is a journalist and writer (Ezer baino lehen, Lehenago zen berandu) and Montoia writes short stories, collections of poems (Anfetamina) and novels (Blackout).
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