"

It's stunning that such a central figure of Basque cultural and literary history as Joxe Mari Iparragirre has never been published in English." - Dan Ansotegui, Basque-American musician and recipient of the National Heritage Award.

Basque troubadour poems first time in English

Joxe Mari Iparragirre's poems have been translated by professor Xabier Irujo and poet David Romtvedt.

"

It's stunning that such a central figure of Basque cultural and literary history as Joxe Mari Iparragirre has never been published in English." - Dan Ansotegui, Basque-American musician and recipient of the National Heritage Award.

Basque troubadour poems first time in English

Joxe Mari Iparragirre's poems have been translated by professor Xabier Irujo and poet David Romtvedt.

David Romtvedt and Xabier Irujo have translated for the first time into English the poems by Jose Mari Iparragirre. The Tree of Gernika presents for the first time in English translation the complete poems and songs of Joxe Mari Iparragirre, the nineteenth-century Basque poet and troubadour whose life encapsulates Basque experience in a time of loss and transformation.

Iparragirre offers a vision of acceptance understanding and peace that is especially important in times of cultural and social discord.

Commenting on politics, technological change, the natural world, and historical figures, Iparragirre makes history present.  In his somewhat sardonic poems on love, he reveals the foibles and longings we all know.  Perhaps most important is his passion and tenderness toward both the Basque Country and the Basque laws.

Cover of "The Tree of Gernika"Two hundred years after his birth in 1820, Iparragirre offers a vision of acceptance understanding and peace that is especially important in times of cultural and social discord. The Tree of Gernika opens a window onto a world that is largely unfamiliar to English speaking readers, shining a light both on what distinguishes us from one another and on what we share.

For all the Basque Americans who have been confined during the spring by the Covid-19 pandemic, locked up inside our homes and farther than ever from the Basque Country, we have come closer than ever to the song that Iparragirre wrote and sang and that we all have in our hearts: Agur Euskal Herriari.

Basque

Agur Euskalerriari

Gazte gaztetatikan
Erritik kanpora
Estranjeri aldean
Pasa det denpora;
Egiya alde guzietan
Toki onak badira
Baña biotzak dio
Zuaz euskalerrira. 

Lur maitea emen ustea
Da negargarria
Emen gelditzen dira
Ama eta erria;
Urez noa ikustera
Bai, mundu berria
Oraintxen bai naizela
Errukigarria. 

Agur nere biotzeko
Amatxo maitea
Laister etorriko naiz
Konsola zaitean;
Jaungoikoak nahi badu
Ni urez joatera
Ama zertarako da
Negar egitea?

English

Greetings, Euskal Herria

Just a kid, I took off
for foreign lands.
I’ve spent my time
here and there,
and while it’s true
there’s good everywhere,
my heart tells me
to go home. 

The land I love,
it’s right here—
my mother, my
friends—I could cry.
I cross the ocean
to see the New World.
Now look at me—
it’s pathetic. 

So long, beloved
mother of my heart.
I keep in mind
that, God willing,
I’ll soon cross
the ocean again.
So why cry, mother,
what for?


The poem of Iparragirre sung by David Romtvedt