A music bridge between the Basque Country and Japan

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


Is it possible to get to know Basque music groups such as Skasti, Benito Lertxundi or Esne Beltza in a remote island of south Japan? Students at Okinawa University are being introduced to Basque music and culture for the first time by Professor John Potter in a course of English seminars on ‘Roots Music of the Okinawans and the Basques’. The music expert John Potter was born in England, but he lives in Japan since several years ago. There, he developed a passion for Okinawan music; but that is not his only devotion: he also loves Basque music.

The class has watched many videos and listened to music from Basque musicians such as Mikel Laboa, Benito Lertxundi, Ruper Ordorika, Oreka TX, Kepa Junkera, Alaitz eta Maider, Esne Beltza, Korrontzi, Elustondo, Kirmen Uribe, Benat Igerabide and Skasti. They have also watched a documentary on the Basque Country. The students have been very interested in discovering these new things and have compared the rich music and culture of the Basques with that of their own Ryukyu Islands.

With the aim of linking both music cultures, Potter  created a facebook page called “The Basque Ryukyu Bridge” as an extension of his blog “Power of Okinawa”. In this page, he writes in English and Japanese about Basque musical culture, also providing videos, songs and interesting websites. The objective is to build a bridge between the music from here and Ryukyu Islands. This is the biggest archipelago in Japan, and Okinawa is the main island. Potter will be teaching a similar course of seminars again after the summer. Congratulations for your work!

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