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Euskal Idazleen Elkartea

Jose Antonio Arana Martija

Gernika-Lumo (Bizkaia), 1931.

He studied at an Ikastola (Basque-medium school) first of all and after the bombing of Gernika in 1937 was exiled to France (Ile de Re). He returned from there in September 1939 to Muxika (Bizkaia), until his family finally settled in Gernika in 1950.

During these years he studied humanism at a seminary until he left in 1947 to finish his baccalaureate studies in Valladolid (Spain) in 1949. At the seminary he was a student of Andres Mañarikua, who advised him to go to Deusto University; he finished his law studies in Valladolid in 1954.

Working in the family business enabled him to continue his studies until he started at the new Economics Faculty in Bilbo in 1957.

He worked in a number of private companies until he was sent to prison in 1968 while he was the general secretary of the Astra-Unceta y Cia factory. He began to write about music in the 60s. In 1963 he recorded four records of Basque songs with the Bogamazua eight-voice choir he conducted.

Some years later, in 1978, he founded the Andra Mari Korala and was its conductor for ten years. In 1964 he began to write in Basque for the journal Jakin and in 1966 founded the Seber Altube ikastola.

He was the editor of the local magazine Brisas Guerniquesas and sparked off numerous protests when he dared to publish works in Basque.

In 1976 he published the book Musica Vasca, which was later translated into Basque and English. The second edition came out in 1987 when he was appointed head of the Music Section of Eusko Ikaskuntza (Basque Studies Society). The Basque Government commissioned him to prepare the beautiful book Eresoinka, which was published in 1986, to mark its 50th anniversary.

In the 1977-78 academic year he organised the Sakonki symposium and gave weekly lectures on Basque culture.

He was responsible for the library of the Euskaltzaindia (Royal Academy of the Basque Language) from 1978 onwards; in 1979 he was made an associate member of the Academy and a full one in 1988; in July 1979 he gave his acceptance speech in Gernika.

He has been the treasurer of the Academy since 1988 and even though he retired as its librarian in 1996, he is still the head of the committee. He had the chance to visit libraries in the United States, Paris and London. He has been a member of the trust of the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid.

He is a member of the Euskal Herriko Adiskideen Erret Erakundea (Royal Society of Friends of the Basque Country), of Eusko Ikaskuntza, the American Institute of Basque Studies and the Basque Writers' Association, which made him an honorary member in 1998.



1976 Música vasca | Udal Aurrezki Kutxa
1977 Opera vasca en Vizcaya | Udal Aurrezki Kutxa
1977 Elai-Alai, Euskalerriko lehenengo koreografi taldea | Gernikako Kultur Elkartea
1979 Planificación de la enseñanza de la música en Vizcaya a todos los niveles | Bizkaiko Aurrezki Kutxa
1980 Bernardo Gabiola | Bizkaiko Aurrezki Kutxa


2011 Euskal Idazleen Elkartea
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