Friday, 29 May 2009

St Jean de Luz sea shanty

The Basque choir I have joined in St Jean de Luz is nestled in the harbour. Picture a large C shape. The mouth of the sea opens onto the beach/sea. At either head of the C are St Jean de Luz and Ciboure. The towns spread around the C and meet at its back. In the middle of the C is a spit of land that houses the fishery buildings. In one of these buildings is our club.

This evening as we were rounding off a song there was much excitement as several of my fellow singers opened the windows and began yelling. A large fishing boat from Bilbao was pulling into the harbour. It was the first sardine boat of the season and many of the fishermen on board were friends of the choir. Not only did this remind me of the importance of fishing in these parts, it also reinforced the extent of the Basque country with its transcendence of national borders.

The choir and fishermen were from opposite ends of the Basque country. Indeed, they are from different nations. However, their bond and jovialitywas born of both friendship and an appreciation of importance of this first catch.

Basque of the day:- fisherman :: arrantzale