Xabier Lete Bergaretxe (Oiartzun, Gipuzkoa, April 5, 1944 - Donostia, December 4, 2010) was a Basque writer, poet, singer and politician. He started to write from an early age and his publication of articles in the magazine "Zeruko Argia" became quite usual. In 1965 he created a band of Basque Music with Mikel Laboa, Benito Lertxundi, Joxean Artze, Jose Angel Irigarai and Lourdes Iriondo. The band was given the name of "Ez Dok Amairu", which disappeared in 1972, even though Xabier Lete kept on singing with Lourdes Iriondo, who, by that time, was his wife.
In 1968 Lete published his first book of poems and he won the Basque Literature Award in October 2009 for his last book of poems "Egunsentiaren esku izotzak" (Frozen hands of the dawn). He received a hard blow in 2005 when his wife Lourdes died for a disease. In April 2009 Lete was proclaimed member of the Academy of Wisdom, Science, Art and Literature, and in 2010, he was named member of honor of the Academy of the Basque Language. Xabier Lete died in that year, on December 4, due to an illness and after having been seriously ill in two hospitals.
Xabier Lete studied in La Salle school from Herrera, Donostia. Once he obtained his high school graduate, he went to Tarragona to do some technical studies, but he didn´t finish them, so he went to the cinema and spent his time reading, instead. When he returned to the Basque Country, he started to work in a factory in Pasaia (Gipuzkoa), where he started to write his first poems. He had been an enthusiastic about reading since he was young, and we soon started to write. He started to write in "Zeruko Argiak" magazine in 1965. Xabier Lete had also a close relationship with the world of acting, he was member of the group Lartaun in Oiartzun. He met Joxean Artze thanks to Julen Lekuona, an acquaintance from the village.
He took part in the birth of the group Ez Dok Amairu, and it was Jorge Oteiza the man who gave the name to the band. This well-known sculptor´s dream was to create a movement for the recovery of the Basque Culture, which would gather all the artistic disciplines. So in the case of the singing, that aim had its answer with the band Ez Dok Amairu. They were years at the dictatorship of Franco, dark epochs, without any doubt. But the Basque society was willing to improve the situation, so answering that desire, the songs became screams. Unfortunately, in 1970 the bad disappeared after they performed the "Baga, biga, higa" show.
He collaborated with other singers, with Antton Valverde, for instance, with whom we gave voice to the poems of Lizardi and poetries of Txirrita during 1975 and 1978. Xabier Lete also worked in the world of acting with the aim of setting the basis of the Basque modern theatre. He met Eugenio Arozena at that time and he worked with him. The works that emerged from that cooperation led to new groups of theatre in Oiartzun.
The most important part of Lete´s songs are the poems and the words that are said in them, even though the music was very often composed by him. Apart from his own words, Lete also sang other singer´s songs, such as Lizardi´s or Jacques Brel´s. In the same way, other singers have also used Lete´s words for their works, Mikel Laboa, Antton Valverde, Imanol Larzabal or Benito Lertxundi, for example.
He started to write poetry in 1964 and published his first book of poems in 1968: "Egunetik egunera orduen gurpilean" (From day to day in the wheels of the hours). In this work it was noticeable the repercussion of Gabriel Aresti´s social poetry and Lete used his words to denounce injustices society was living at those times. That is why he criticized that much poets who treated kindly the power as well as those who simply got lost in stylistic games omitting the reality. His second book of poems was published in 1974 and its name was "Bigarren poema liburua" (Second book of poems). This work was much more intimate than the first one. Due to the existentialist philosophy of France, Lete talked more about the reflection of the life and death. The next book of poems came in 1981: "Urrats desbideratuak" (The diverted steps) in which the language became stronger and the poems where the reflex of the pessimism and despair giving way to philosophical thoughts with the vision of Nietzsche.
Once he recovered from an illness he had, Lete published his fourth book of poems in 1992: "Zentzu antzanldatuen poemategia" (The book of poems of transmuted senses). He received the prize of poetry of Felipe Arrese Beitia, given by the Euskaltzaindia (The Academy of the Basque Language). Shortly afterwards, at a revised edition, the book received another name: "Biziaren ikurrak" (The symbols of life).
In 2009 he received an award for his book of poems "Egunsentiaren esku izotzak" and at that same year he was proclaimed member of the Academy of Wisdom, Science, Art and Literature.
After his third publication, Lete abandoned for a while the literature to fully get into politics. During the 80´s decade he occupied the posts of General Director, then Adviser, after that he got into the Department of Culture of Gipuzkoa´s Local Council, but due to problems of health he definitely gave up the public activity.
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