lunes, 20 de diciembre de 2010

Kepa Junkera will present BETI BIZI at the prestigious Celtic Connections in Glasgow.

Event Details
Kepa Junkera and Friends

Thursday 20th January 2011, 7.30pm

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall : Main Auditorium

Ever since Basque accordionist Kepa Junkera’s revelatory UK debut at Celtic Connections 1999, he’s had a bit of a mutual love-affair with Glasgow, even once the rest of the world caught on to his intrepid, inspirational virtuosity. Simultaneously with revitalising the rich heritage of the trikitixa – the Basque diatonic accordion – among other native traditions, Junkera is a tirelessly globe-trotting, genre-blind collaborator, whose string of acclaimed albums has seen him working with literally hundreds of international artists. Above all, though, he’s an electrifying, unforgettable live performer, and we’re delighted to welcome him back, together with his full band and several extra special guests, including the young female choir Leioa Kantika Korala, as featured on his newest recording project Beti Bizi.

Published in the website:

miércoles, 24 de noviembre de 2010

I seek to open the Basque songs to the World

Published in DEIA by Andrés Portero

Kepa Junkera presented yesterday Herria, a record that concludes the trilogy of euskaldun music recorded next to musicians of other countries that started with Etxea and followed by Kalea, so that it can be internationally known the songs of the Basques, mainly in the Diaspora.

Bilbao. The Basque musician puts an end to the trilogy after collaborating with 130 artists of more than thirty different countries, from Estrella Morente to Teresa Salgueiro, Juanes, Aute, Calamaro, Lila Downs or Leo Gieco. In Herria he is in the company of musicians like Glen Vélez, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Justin Vali or Dave Douglas, distinguished musicians that he adds Boise's choruses, of gospel or of the American Indians, to sing and play to songs as Boga boga, Hator hator, Egun da Santi Mamiña, Ene izar maitea, Eperrak or Agur Xiberua. "When it’s upon creating I am ambitious" Kepa Junkera explains to us in this interview. "I wanted to share our inheritance with the most possible people, to open it to the world," he adds on.

Satisfied or exhausted?

I am calm. I remember when I designed the project in a notebook and the energy that I had then. Now it´s no longer the same, obvious.

Now would you think in getting yourself in this intensive project?

I don't know. Definitely I have asked myself, where did I get myself into. Over all because I had the sensation that the project was unembraceable, that there were many things left behind. The fact is that I know a lot of musicians and, besides, a lot of doors have been opened unto me. Regardless of everything, I look at the result and I feel satisfied. I’m sure that I would do it again.

The numbers overwhelm.

Yes. In Herria 130 artists of 28 different countries have participated. The total of the three records have been; 155 singers, 128 musicians, 17 producers, 53 technicians, 38 recording studios, I have visited 49 countries, worked with 15 photographers and 3 cameramen... At the end, I have recorded 74 songs. I am very happy because eclectic people have collaborated, more or less known.

The most sluggish work would be closing the agenda of so many musicians and the country.

Right, the most tiresome is always the work of coordination and infrastructure. It is sending an e-mail to the people, the translated song, to close hotels and the days of the recording studios to record in other countries ... That, that is not a part of the creative process, takes a lot of energy away but at the same time your so happy seeing how the people have responded to your email.

For Herria you have visited New York, Casablanca, Athens, Boise, Paris, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Istanbul...

In the American part, Istanbul and Athens I had more time then when I’m going to perform. We were allowed more time, recording during the week and making the calendar the way we like it, placing the pieces of the puzzle.

The record and the whole trilogy project surpass ambition.

I am an ambitious musician when it is a matter of creating. I have never been afraid of the projects, yes in respect to share them. However, it was a help for me to be surrounded by a good team that has always backed me up. I have felt strong. Also it is true that there are several types of ambition. In the beginning, for example, there is like a need, a desire of learning and feeling. After that you think about creating, to go further on than just to be a musician, of the composition and the interpretation, and to be producer, to dream up new stadiums and to construct them. That is a privilege.

Do you feel yourself more than a trikitilari?

I like it when they call me "trikitilari" (trikitilari is a basque word meaning the person who plays the diatonic accordion) it means that at last they have admitted me in the club of the trikis. (laughing)

It was hard work, wasn’t it?

I am so proud to have known that traditional world and being part of them. The only thing I can do is to thankful to all of them because I still admire Fasio, Laja, Sakabi, Tapia ... Then I felt the need to do different things ,now knowing another musical dimension. There are people that relate me with the folk music, others with my most global projects ... I have the sensation of not being able to show all that I am that always something stays behind.

You’re talking about learning, right?

Yes, and always in a humble and curiosity way. We have to have our eyes wide open because there is very creative and talented persons out there that frightens you when you meet. These projects have made me have a much more positive vision of the people and to canalize my energy in a creative way.

What role does Herria in the trilogy have?

It is the last leg, the one that closes this project. I like very much the three titles: Etxea, Kalea and Herria. House, street, town ... We decided these titles, the designers that I work in Madrid and me from the sketches that I presented them. I like to take part inside the world of design and the album’s esthetics and in the videos. I’m always trying to contribute because they do know more, but you have a complementary vision that just might work.

In "Etxea" you talked about an invitation to our house- metaphor of the Basque Country, of your song book and culture - to other people.

Definitely, but the idea is simpler than all of that. It was recording euskaldunes songs that I like and sharing them with musicians that I admire from other countries and places. Mainly, what I look for is the people of the Basque Diaspora who listen to those songs that they learned in there time interpreted by people of their country of adoption. Next you can add literature to them, as Saramago wrote before and now, in Herria, Bernardo Atxaga.

In this last record arises a tremendous curiosity, like the participation of the American Indians.

Yes, they belong to several tribes: Cherokees, Navahos and Cheyenne’s. I have made them sing side by side with the descendants of the Basque shepherds, people of California, Nevada and Idaho.

How did you choose between so many collaborators and so many cities?

I decided on the people that I admire, well known as Glen Vélez, greek Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Justin Vali, Dave Douglas ... and other unknown. And I took notice of the cities that I could see as open doors, for example, Casablanca toward Africa or Istanbul toward Orient. Also I chose Paris and New York, where you can find every type of musicians, of Hawaii, of Philippines, of Pakistan, of Armenia, Iran...

Once you told me that you were scared of collaborating with singers when being yourself an instrumental musician.

At the beginning it was a respectable and ignorance issue. I am the producer, back to back with other musicians, and I am with them when they sing. At the end, I decide and the voice gives me so much respect. They all have helped me so much and have given everything, without divisions. The voice is an incredible instrument.

Speaking about the sound, Herria is the most exotic album out of three, right?

Yes, it has many curious things. We have blues, jazz, gospel, folk of different latitudes ... With the Indians I chose the option of leaving it very tribal. With Douglas I chose the improvisation, in order to
give freedom to the musicians. I look for what they could contribute with their vision to my previous ideas. I have heard these songs before recording them.

The final result come closer to the one you have listened to in your imagination?

In some cases it has surprised me. Like Hator hator that is recorded with a Louisiana's gospel choir. It’s difficult to talk about the songs, you have to hear them. What's curious about the project is that I can feel that there is a main strong thread between the three albums in spite of being so different the participating interpreters.

Has the trilogy been better accepted outside than in the Basque Country?

I don't know! I am used to people that has always encouraged me and others that has criticized me. I listen to the whole world, but I follow my road trying to be humble and tolerant. I try to understand the criticism, it is not right to think that what one has in mind is correct.

I can imagine that the dispute with the subvention worth millions that you received from Basque Government is the worst moment of this project.

It’s a part of it. At the end, you hold on to the good things although definitely it was a difficult circumstance. And I assume it. I do not know if they are going to be able to understand the project now that it has been concluded. There will be people that will not listen to it, but I am optimistic. The bad moments are also a part of one.

And they inure.

Absolutely. I have never had it easy. I am self-educated and I got involved in a world, the one of the triki, in which I did not give out the stereotype, from being of city, giving me a lot of detractors. And with this project the same thing. I seek to make a contribution and to share this legacy of our inheritance with all the people possible. I wanted to open it with the world. And I have felt myself with a lot of strength, what I have demonstrated to myself is that I come from Rekalde. It is a pride to be from a neighborhood, inures in the challenges.

domingo, 21 de noviembre de 2010

Kepa´s boundary-free world

FOR Kepa Junkera, frontiers do no exist, neither physicial nor mental. He has demonstrated it again in his last album, Herria. In order to record it he has travelled thousands of kilometres’ and sailed to several continents in search of interpreters and instruments that would put voice and music to the Basque folk songs. With Herria, Rekalde's trikitilari closes in a brilliant way the trilogy that started 2008 with Etxea and followed by the next year with Kalea. In total more than 70 songs, 49 countries, 128 musicians and 155 singers. An overwhelmed number of participants that reveal the great effort accomplished during two long years for Kepa Junkera´s team. A team that yesterday was with him during the presentation of his new record, presented on stage of the remodelled Campos Elíseos.

Behind the scenes, in order to go by unnoticed, and as if it had nothing to deal with them, was Aitor Narbaiza, Santi Yaniz, Bea Etxebeste, Kirmen Goikuria, among others. To all of them and too many more, Kepa Junkera wanted to thank their support that they offered him to be able to accomplish the project Herria. And also to a very special person, his wife, Miren Goikuria, who he mentioned filled with emotion of a man that has a special sensibility. The same feeling that impregnated his projects since he stepped on stage with a trikitixa at the town’s pilgrimages.

Kepa embarked with this project, in which he feels "very proud", guided by a main principal: "To keep sharing euskera and our culture with people all over the world". First came Etxea with state singers and musicians like Miguel Bosé, Loquillo, Estrella Morente or María del Mar Bonet. In Kalea he crossed the ocean, heading to the lands of South America, just as our forefathers did. And in Herria, the most travelling work of the three has left room for artists of so many awkward places as Boise, Istanbul or Hawaii. Yesterday, in the presentation, the majority of 130 musicians that they have collaborated with him Herria could not be there, but nourished representations of Biscayan society were there. Because if what Kepa has are friends. They refused to lose the presentation like the mythical sportmen, José Ángel Iribar and Dani, that next to the executive Fermín Palomar they represented the Athletic. Also we found Marino Lejarreta, Xabier Jon Davalillo, Eduardo Castañeda, Carmelo Mendía, Marino Montero, Kike Santarén, José Ramón Epelde, Bingen Zupiria, Ktoño Frade, Beatriz Marcos, José Angel Pereda, Jesús Garitaonandía, Amaia Basterretxea, Julio Alegría, Iñaki Astigarraga, Mikel Bilbao, María Loizaga, Ignacio Casado, Andoni Olivares, Andoni Ortuzar, Beatriz Marcos, José María Amantes, Enrique Thate, Xabier Basañez, Juan Cid, Juan Carlos Belmonte who didn´t want to miss this day. And master of ceremonies, Isidro Elezgarai that would be why Caja Laboral (Basque Bank) has support Kepa in this musical boundary-free adventure.

By José Basurto ( DEIA )
Published in the newspaper DEIA

miércoles, 17 de noviembre de 2010

Junkera culminates his trilogy opening the Basque music to non-latin rhythms.

Published in the newspaper ABC
16-11-2010 / 14:10 h

Published in the newspaper ABC
16-11-2010 / 14:10 h

Bilbao, NOV 16 ( EFE).- The trikitilari (a basque word meaning the person who plays the diatonic accordion) Kepa Junkera has culminated his trilogy of folksongs in Euskera (the Basque Language) interpreted by musicians and singers outside of the Basque Country with the album, Herria (Town), in which the interpreters come from Non-Latin musical cultures.

This project started off in 2008 with Etxea (House), in which Junkera surrounded himself with musicians of the Caribbean and Iberian Peninsula and were sung in euskera; Miguel Bosé, Ana Belén, Loquillo, Jaime Urrutia, Santiago Auserón, María del Mar Bonet, Estrella Morente, Michel Camilo and Dulce Pontes are some of the voices that took part in that first record.

In Kalea (Street), the Latin Americans were the ones that interpreted and sang the Basque song: Juanes, Lito Vitale, Viticus, Pablo Milanés, Julieta Venegas ...

Now, this project closes with "HERRIA" in which "the collaborators” from countries like United States, Madagascar, Greece and Korea are musicians in the area of folk music.

“The sounds are a slight different with new instruments", Junkera has said in the presentation of his new album in Bilbao.

“HERRIA” includes 23 songs recorded in Paris, Istanbul and Casablanca and in the North American cities of New York, San Francisco, St. Antonio, Los Angeles, Oakland, Boise and Hawaii.

The album reflects the cities´ music’s of where it was recorded, so that the Basque songs appears with different versions as the rhythms of the Indian tribes, tex mex , with the musicians of Flaco Jiménez, jazz of New York by the hand of Dave Douglas’s quartet, gospel or the sound of the lyre, the ukulele or the wind instruments of Armenia and Turkey.

Junkera has explained that in the album "truly talented" musicians have worked with him although the names may not be all grandiloquent like the ones in the first two albums, especially because, "the Anglo-Saxon world is much more unknown to us".

The trikitixa's interpreter has highlighted that in the three albums the participating musicians have had the freedom to make of Basque folksongs "theirs" with "no limitations", although "the main thread is the strength of the Basque songs" and Euskera. Junkera has thanked the writers José Saramago, who passed away last June, Bernardo Atxaga and Xabier Aumuriza for the prefaces that they made for these records.

Junkera has recognized that the most difficult one was making the first of the three albums, mainly because until then he was accustomed to collaborate with other instrumentalists and not with singers, but he has said that, once "Etxea" was recorded, the whole project remained established the "philosophy and the work dynamics"

I am very proud of what I have achieved and all the people that has helped me out, the balance of the whole project is "very very positive", Kepa has said before thanking the writers José Saramago, who passed away last June, Bernardo Atxaga and Xabier Amuriza who wrote the prefaces for these records.

Kepa Junkera, that will now dedicate himself to the promotion of "HERRIA" till the end of the year to discuss new projects for 2011. He has pointed out that is would be "very pretty" to give a "grand finale" concert with the musicians and singers of the three albums, explaining that it is "very complicated" to organize it.
EFE maf/em.

martes, 16 de noviembre de 2010

KEPA presents HERRIA his third, last, new album of the trilogy.

EITB KULTURA: Nov 16 2010

This time, the Basque accordionist has surrounded himself with musicians from U.S. A., Madagascar, Greece and Korea. In these new versions we will find folk, jazz, gospel and rhythms of the Indian tribes.

Today Kepa Junkera begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting has presented his third and last new record HERRIA of his trilogy being first "Etxea" (2008) followed by "Kalea" (2009). The three records gather the traditional folksongs in euskera (Basque language), interpreted by musicians from outside of the Basque Country.

In Herria (Town), the Basque accordionist has surrounded himself with non Latin interpreters of musical cultures and having contact in the area of folk music. This new album includes 23 songs recorded in Paris, Istanbul, Casablanca and in the North American cities of New York, San Francisco, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Oakland, Boise and Hawaii.

The sounds are a slight different with new instruments", Junkera has said in the presentation of his new album in Bilbao. The record reflects the cities´ music’s of where it was been recorded, so that the Basque songs appears with versions as the rhythms of the Indian tribes, tex mex , with the musicians of Flaco Jiménez, jazz of New York by the hand of Dave Douglas´s quartet, gospel or the sound of the lyre, the ukulele or the wind instruments of Armenia and Turkey.

This project started off in 2008 with Etxea (House), in which Junkera surrounded himself with musicians of the Iberian Peninsula and the caribbean that they sang in euskera. Miguel Bosé, Ana Belén, Loquillo, Jaime Urrutia, Santiago Auserón, María del Mar Bonet, Estrella Morente, Michel Camilo and Dulce Pontes are some of the voices that took part in that first record.

In Kalea (Street), Latin American were the ones that interpreted and sang the Basque song: Juanes, Lito Vitale, Viticus, Pablo Milanés, Julieta Venegas ...

The trikitixa's interpreter has highlighted that in the three albums the participating musicians have had freedom to make of Basque folksongs "theirs" with "no limitations", although "the main thread is the strength of the Basque songs" and euskera. Junkera has thanked the writers José Saramago, who passed away last June, Bernardo Atxaga and Xabier Aumuriza for the prefaces that they made for these records.

Video-clip HERRIA Egun da Santi Mamiña

Video-clip : Trilogy ETXEA KALEA HERRIA

jueves, 28 de octubre de 2010

HERRIA, the new album of Kepa Junkera

Kepa Junkera closes his Trilogy of the Basque Folk Music (started off with the albums ETXEA and KALEA) with the album HERRIA. From November 16 it will be available in a double CD and digital format, in Warner edition.

The recording of the 23 songs has be recorded in New York, Oakland, Berkley, Paris, Casablanca, Istanbul, Athens, Boise, San Francisco Los Angeles, Hawaii and Bilbao.

(Text from EFE EME published the 28 Oct, 2010 in the category Spain Records, News)

Kepa Junkera makes the Bulgarian public fall in love with the Basque music

Sofia, 27 Oct. ( EFE).- The musician from Bilbao, Kepa Junkera, gave forth in Sofia a moving and unforgettable spectacle of rhythms and traditional Basque sounds that made the Bulgarian audience fall in love, totally unknown music in the Balkan country that tonight he presents for the first time.

During almost two hours the composer, producer and the artist did not stop provoking admirations on behalf of the majority of 1,200 spectators that have been hypnotized by the magic of his interpretation of trikitixa, a typical Basque diatonic accordion.

The "the king of the accordion" surpassed the challenge of attracting the public with this instrument known in the Balkan country as typical of the folkloric music, but with a completely unknown and contagious tonality.

In addition to this Basque accordion, the spectators also had a good time with other musical instruments like the txalaparta, a kind of percussion whose thick board is hit in pairs with four sticks, and also the alboka, a traditional instrument of wind.

Junkera that was awarded in 2004 with a Grammy for the best Folkloric album, The Bulgarian’s auditorium untied surges of applauses for his interpretation, well-known to have the best acoustics of The Balkans, and also to make a speech in Bulgarian’s language, winning his way to the public.

News published in the newspaper ABC.
27-10-2010 / 23:40 h

jueves, 2 de septiembre de 2010


The musician is finishing "Herria", the record that will close his trilogy of Basque songs. It’s his most international album and has recorded with American, European and African artists.

Although I miss that spirit, that sensation of discovering things when I was 10 years old, Kepa Junkera keeps on exploring new ways in the musical scene. These days he is finishing mixing the songs that compose the third music album of his trilogy. Herria will be released next month of November but if the musician doesn´t feel that the outcome is what he wanted then it will be released later.

After Etxea and Kalea, Kepa Junkera dashes to a most universal and cosmopolitan adventure. If for the first record he counted on state artists, for the second one he increased his influence to South America, in Herria he´s gone a little further crossing the Atlantic to go to United States. “I have recorded in Saint Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, in cities that are very opened, of encounter. And I wanted to finish with this type of cities, of more universal towns ", Junkera explains to who underlines the opening of this project.” It is very free way to face the musical and human encounter. What I look for is sharing these Basque folksongs and what they mean. Sharing our culture with people of other territories, of other musical visions ".

With the great acceptance that had his two first records of the trilogy, this third one promises. “I am very happy about the repercussion that they have had. This is a long term project. It will understood better within time. In spite of working with folksongs, it has that point of invention that is needed to be understood ", the native of Bilbao comments.

AMBASSADOR PROJECT If somewhat awakes our curiosity of this work is the multiculturalisms that he picks up. Artists around the world have brought their particular grist to the mill. People of Pakistan, of Korea, of Japan, Moroccan or of Madagascar, as for an European and American musicians.

And to increase the difficulty of the record, they all sang in euskera. " Many times, from inside, it seems to be a task more complicated. It would be if they offered me an interesting proposal to which I am not familiar with. Maybe, you face yourself from a positive view ", Kepa Junkera explains. The musician recognizes that the people at first moment are surprised but little by little they change that reaction toward a open new view point. “They take it as an honor. For them, it is a great satisfaction to be part in a culture that many know and for others that they have heard about". Junkera praises the work that his companions have done in Herria. "They start to know but them they implicate themselves more. They look for, they rummage and they are very excited about it." This union of cultures grants us a look of "an ambassador project” to the album, according to Junkera, he admits that among the three albums there are" more than 200 singers" from around the world.

And it is not a job of musicology where you look for the hyper-perfection in all the notes. “you always are going to have the accent, the bell. And it seems enriching to me that there is that variety ", explains.

So much wealth cultural contributes to very enriching shades. Songs of jazz, blues, all sounds have a spot. “We have to listen to it. I try that it has a connection, that they can´t be like separate islands although I give freedom ", stands out with the example of this theme, Egun da Santimamina, with the lyrics of Xabier Amuriza and Gabriel Aresti, to the one he was mixing upon this interview. "It is a theme recorded with the American Indians of different tribes and with the descendants of the Basques, of the Basque shepherds, that they are Americans.

A lot of new voices but also a lot of new instruments. "There are standard instruments like the piano or the drums but also other more strangers as the laúd, that is the Arab guitar, the Indian drum or the ney, that is a kind of flute", telling us Junkera and that increases this particular list with Turkish or Greek instruments like the lyre of Crete.

FUTURE Accustom to hook a project with another one, Kepa Junkera already has his eyes set on new ideas although among them it is not on a new trilogy. “I ´m in eager to finish this. It has been many years of work for me and I want to enjoy it but from a certain distance.” he assures. Although this affirmation is not reduced to only this work in which he has be submerged during 5 years. “It happens with all of them. I just need to detach from them".

And in order that that distance in relation to the trilogy becomes a reality, Kepa Junkera already thinks “in a recording a new album with my group, if everything is goes alright. I have done many projects in recent times. I will focus on that and in playing. I want to return more full”.

But those expectations do not center themselves only in composing a new record but also he has new experiences in mind. He’s also thinking about the possibility of presenting the trilogy in a pack and of the first record he already has a book. “I am open. In order to make it, I´m delighted. We have photos from Santi Yaniz to photographers of the whole world, very interesting for a book ", Junkera indicates who lengthens his vision of work.” I am with the documentary, since I have recorded the whole process in video. Let’s see if for the coming year we can do something ".

It’s more than 30 years of career with his trikitixa and Kepa Junkera and looks back and he is satisfied with the outcome. “I am very happy with what I have achieved. For me, in the beginning, this was a game. I had never imagined that I would be here”.

Published in the newspaper DEIA

miércoles, 28 de julio de 2010


BETI BIZI is Kepa Junkera´s new project accompanied by Xabier Amuriza and the female voices of the choir KANTIKA.

On Monday an interview was recorded for the cultural program of the Public Basque Television (EiTB) "EiTB Kultura" with Kepa Junkera and Xabier Amuriza, writer / bertsolari (improviser of oral verses) explaining all the details of this new album BETI BIZI.

Also in the interview we could count on the participation of the girls from the choir "LEIOA KANTIKA KORALA" who joined in with the accordion music of Kepa Junkera and the voice of Xabier Amuriza interpreting several songs of the album.

The program was recorded in a unique setting such as the Nature Interpretation Center Tower Madariaga located in one of the most privileged spots of the natural park of Urdaiba, in Busturia.

It is believed that the interview will be showed on the 17th of August in ETB 2, in Spanish while the 19th of August it will broadcast in ETB 1 in Euskera, the basque language.

miércoles, 7 de julio de 2010

The magician of the "trikitixa"

Published by Dani Chicano on July 6, 2010:
Foto de Lluis Serrat

After the concert on Friday night on the steps of Girona´s Cathedral, which Kepa Junkera offered, talking to with Miquel Basin, what is that you always enrich the conversation, a scholar in the field of music, and especially the has been called world music, in which in the traditional Catalan music that would be extremely well a figure that was the equivalent to Kepa Junkera in traditional Basque music. Junkera has achieved, among other things, which the trikitixa, Basque diatonic accordion linked to popular music and with a liberating function ceases to be a reviled instrument, frowned upon even by religious and social issues, usually related to rural and little academic places. The trikitilari from Rekalde understood that to maintain the tradition it needs to evolve, it must be renewed by applying a creative spirit. Shield against any alteration, to repeat over and above what can only be reliably lead to the disappearance or the relegation to the status of anthropological oddity. Junkera has recovered the trikitixa, but also the traditional Basque folk music and has adapted to the times, repeating this operation with the txalaparta and alboka, traditional Basque percussion and wind instruments, respectively, which together with the sound of trikitixa are the hallmark of Kepa Junkera and his group of excellent musicians. In Catalonia there are commendable efforts, such as Jordi Molina with the tenor, Artur Blasco (El Pont d'Arcalís), also accordionist with a long history and a lot of work of recovery behind his back, but none of the size, versatility and the international projection of Kepa Junkera, comparable to what has been done with the Galician gaita by Carlos Nunez, for instance. Just as Núñez and gaita (bagpipes), Junkera breathe the same rhythm as his instrument, which has an absolute dominance, spectacular, which allows him to play at a high speed without losing a single note, with vivid clarity. The symbiosis, perfect, allows to modular the speech to Kepa Junkera´s convenience, qualify it, to excite the public, who finished surrendered to him.

At the concert in Girona, Junkera, was accompanied by Iñigo Olazabal (Txalaparta, albota and percussions), Argibel Euba (txalaparta and percussions), Roberto Caballero (bass), José Luis Canal (piano) and José Ángel Telleria (drums). The majority of the songs played were from his album HIRI (2006)- Hiri, Kokkola, Buenos Aires, Reno, Agadir, Tatihou, Ataun and Napoli- in which Junkera, being an interpreter and composer, he was inspired by many cities of the world. The rest of the themes are from his album Bilbao 00:00 – (Bok Espok, Gaztelugatxeko) Maren -(Kaixarranka, Peliqueiroak terranovan) and Leon Orroeak (Zrkinipez)

The sound of natural born innovators

A new step forward of the trikitixa

Amuriza, Leioa Kantika Junkera Koral and joining tradition and modernity in assigning "surprising"

Published by Ander Egiluz Beramendi for DEIA on July 4, 2010

Betibizi. Immortelle. It is the flower that is placed on the lapel of the dancers, and is the title of the new album with the signature of Xabier Amuriza, Leioa Kantika Koral, along with the inexhaustible Kepa Junkera. "The title has a double meaning," says the bertsolari of Etxano-“On one side is a direct reference to the flower of the dancers, a tribute to them all, and secondly the demand for the dance, of its vitality and eternity”.
The album, published by Hiri Records, has great coral presence, also having the trikitixa of Junkera and with the foundations on ancient ballad Biscayan´songs and classical melodies of dance that Amuriza has collected and sorted. But it does not sound as expected. The CD, shocks you, a lot. "People may be surprised," the musician of Rekalde sincerely says. "It's an album to enjoy listening to in a hi-fi system". And if anything characterizes the large group that has join together in this project- so many names that always one is always left behind, is the obsession for a work well done. "I've been very careful with this recording because I know how Xabier works and the time he has spent on its and I wanted to be at the height of the circumstances," says the trikitilari.

With a copy in his hand, Amuriza laughs from the little that the CD holds in comparison with the books in which, ten years ago, recovered the verses. "So much work and so little presence," jokes the two of them, with a very good reason: the first steps of the project were taken "almost nine years ago!”, exclaims Junkera.

The label market situation also is not at all buoyant and explains the musician, "it will become increasingly more difficult to make records like this, many years of work." But creativity can not stop on breaking down barriers.


Beyond the triki and tambourine

What is most striking in the first electronic sounds heard that the artist used for this. The album is the second part of a project that Amriza began more than a decade, with the recording Bizkaiko kopla zaharrak, in which Tapia ta Leturia participated. On that occasion the result was more classic, "The Sound of lifelong triki with melodies and lyrics together forever," says Xavier. But for this second part I wanted to change the recording -there fits the idea of mixing dance tunes with other types of ballads-, and who became his traveling companion, Kepa Junkera, also soughing new atmospheres. "It has always caught my attention to play differently," honestly speaking Junkera. "Not always playing the triki with the tambourine."

The “hunger and appetite” got together, two natural born innovators, ground-breakers, each in his personal field. Xabier revolutionized improvisation by showing that it was not a privilege of gifted persons and Kepa did the same to bring trikitixa to dispute in the market, and often to pull it off, with the mass of radio pop formulas. On their innovative impulses Amuriza believes that "we must be daring." "Also, at that moment you do not realize the impact of those changes retrospectively. Perhaps we are looking too far into the future ...”

Kepa Junkera, despite of always seek new ways for that “infernal bellows” -like he called the triki in his first album, "it´s still thrilling ,in a special way, to hear the sounds of the most classic trikitixa: “Fasi, Epelde, Leon Bilbao... were persons with a special charisma and when I hear those sounds something stirs up inside of me." But this time, in addition to the innovations proposed by Xabier and the electronic bases, the guy of Rekalde "I wanted to do new things with the choir." And that's where Astulez Basilio comes in, the director of Leioa Kantika Koral, "a man who does an awesome job," according to Junkera. He was a great challenge for a choir because, for one, it meant to record separately and in one same microphone the alto, bass ... But the final result has been impeccable. "It's exciting to see a group of girls so young and so serious liking to do new things," says Junkera.

This type of projects "stimulate the imagination and inspiration and making you enjoy it," says rekaldetarra (a person born in the Rekalde) proudly looking at the CD. "And that is important," he adds. Both artists agreed that sentimentally finishing the job "it´s a pride." To which Kepa adds that Betibizi "it´s an album that gives us fresh air." New and innovative. Something about what Amuriza reconsiders in the preface of the album: "The effect has been fascinating." It will cushion the effect for the conversion of novelty in practice?” Not so. May it continue to open new paths, even if the circumstances appear to be adverse. A great album.

domingo, 4 de julio de 2010

BETI BIZI now on sale!!!

Kepa Junkera´s new release BETI BIZI is now on sale.

The album presented under the seal HIRI RECORDS is the latest work of the musician of Rekalde (a neighborhood of Bilbao) for the moment, with the collaboration of the writer and “bertsolari” (Basque improviser singer) Xabier Amuriza and the voices of the choir LEIOA KANTIKA KORALA.

A different and innovative album with that special touch of Kepa Music seals the unmistakable style of this project. A brave, energetic album that brings together our past with our present, in an elegant proposal without complexes, a CD that will surprise everyone who listens.

BETI BIZI on sale and also in Internet, for more information “CLICK HERE”

martes, 29 de junio de 2010

Amuriza released an album that mixes dance melodies and electronic music

BILBAO. The bertsolari (Basque improviser singer) Xabier Bilbao Amuriza presented today in Bilbao the album ‘Bizi Beti’, a CD in which has collaborated the trikitilari Kepa Junkera that combines Ancient Biscayans´ ballads and sung by the Leioa Kantika Korala and fused with electronic music.

This new album, presented at the Headquarters of the SGAE, Amuriza himself tells us that the CD consists of 12 tracks that includes “that musical touch of Kepa Junkera” allows us “to approach this new album in a different way, combining past, present and even perhaps to give us a glimpse of patterns of the near future.”

“A new concept of musical fusion, a different sound and most innovative proposal of coral in the moment” tells us Iñaki Iraeta, manager of Hiri Records, responsible for the production of this project.

Also Amuriza highlighted that it is “Old verses, a youth choir, lively rhythms of dance and electronic sounds” that is a continuity of his previous album he conducted in a much more “traditional” way with trikitixa but again focused on old Biscayans´ballads.

Information and photo from DEIA.

BETI BIZI The new project of Kepa Junkera



BETI BIZI is the new album presented under the label of Hiri Records and the production by the musician Kepa Junkera. Xabier Amuriza, the chorus of LEIOA KANTIKA KORALA and Kepa Junkera, himself joined their talents to present this new album composed of 12 songs that seamlessly blend our past, choral and electronic music.

“Old verses, a youth choir, lively rhythms of dance and electronic sounds make up the novelty and strength of this project” Xabier Amuriza

Ancient Biscayans´ ballads recovered by Xabier Amuriza, sung by LEIOA KANTIKA KORALA and that special touch of Kepa Music seals the unmistakable style of this album which allows us to approach this new album in a different way, combining past, present and even perhaps to give us a glimpse of patterns of the near future.

“A new concept of musical fusion, a different sound and most innovative proposal of coral in the moment” Kepa Junkera

An original bet, accomplice and emotionally charged. A meeting place of talents and various proposals that make one of the most special projects for the moment. BETI BIZI.

viernes, 18 de junio de 2010

Preface of my album ETXEA written by JOSÉ SARAMAGO

Photo by Jose Luis Nocito, Bilbao 2001.

Today José Saramago has decided to say goodbye to all of us to continue his journey to the different corners of the soul, far and unknown, but certainly it will be a new challenge for this great Portuguese writer.

From we want to make a small tribute to him, publishing the preface he wrote for the album ETXEA two years ago.


There is a musical city where all the cities of the world are represented, as if it were a mutual home. The name of the architect and the builder of all of this is Kepa.

The oldest music was the human voice. Somehow we could say the man discovered the music within himself, inside each sound of a word of our rude forefathers, even when it was going to be necessary thousands of years before the first one would be formed.

The music has always latent within the man, as a possibility, but multiple and murmuring, also lived nature. The birds already singing, the wind whistling in the cavities of the grottoes, the cascades; thunders like a song of Richard Wagner in advance and altogether, and what we can also imagine, was the nature’s great orchestra, where an empty seat awaits the arrival of man. Which finally appeared holding in his hands a bone with holes called flute. And also a round object with a hole, with a skin stretched over the opening, which would receive the name of drum.

Also bringing with him his own voice, and without no doubt, was one of the most sublime moments in history of mankind, in which a human being, man or woman, stood up to sing. From there on, it may not appear at first glance, but the songs collected by Kepa Junkera are about this, in this unique recording that surely will seek new directions in the composition and musical interpretations. To sing the language of others is the first challenge.

José Saramago (2008)

viernes, 11 de junio de 2010

Kepa Junkera will be in charge of closing the Art Festival of Miajadas


The Art Festival of Miajadas - FAM - is the first festival in Extremadura that never ends and is promoted by the City Hall of Miajadas (Cáceres) under the direction of the Department of Culture. It began in 2009 as a project which engages all citizens into an event, in which, over a week they exchange emotions, melodies, different view points and understanding the food, music, art and theatre among other disciplines.

FAM was founded with the firm goal in making Miajadas in the first Town Museum of Extremadura in Vanguard Art and being all held outdoors. In short, FAM is a festival made from Extremadura, empowering Extremadura artist, making Miajadas in a regional reference of avant-garde art, where in this edition the Basque accordionist Kepa Junkera will be in charge of putting the finishing touch to the festival, July 3, after six days of activities.

News gathered from 11/06/2010 • © 2010


miércoles, 9 de junio de 2010


Today Kepa Junkera presents his new official website;

A new place to meet and catch up on all the information about Kepa Junkera and his music. We invite you to come in and enjoy this fresh, beautiful, stylish, clean, clear, unique art design web…. just like his music.

martes, 8 de junio de 2010

The TRIKITIXA lands in the U.S.

Kepa Junkera produces 'HERRIA', his last album of his international collective project.

Article written by:
Maider IZETA | LOS ANGELES. News published in the Diario Vasco on June 6, 2010

He has recorded with singers of Iranian origin, Korean and Navajo Indian musicians.

A camera man and a photographer accompanies Kepa Junkera during this musical journey.

"The Basque people of California have given me a lot. They are people who enjoy these encounters "

"Years ago I made a bet. As a musician, you have to consider challenges. There are many artists I admire and with whom I have always wanted to collaborate and work with them it´s a source of energy for me. “These are the convincing words of the musician of Biscay, Kepa Junkera when he speaks of 'Etxea' and 'Kalea', the first two albums of his trilogy of Basque songs that will come to an end in a few months with 'Herria' and which is much more than a collection of traditional songs versions sung in Euskera by a wide range of guest artists.

The first two installments of this project which, judging by the given names to the records, travel from private space of home to the city's public, passing through the nexus of both, the street, were released 2008 and 2009, respectively. Today, Junkera is immersed in the production of 'Herria', the latest album of a project that, in the last legislature, was financially supported by the Basque Government.

As in the previous work, the Biscayan musician has been traveling to Europe, Africa and America in search of unique sounds to merge with the rhythmic melodies of trikitixa. This search has led him to settle temporarily in California. "I've been in cities like San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland ..., places that attract me much by its diversity," he says. In his visits to those cities, Junkera has recorded with Iranian-born singers, Korean musicians, Navajo Indians and a blues band, among others.

Continues to open doors

But Kepa Junkera´s project goes beyond the merely musical. His goal in this trilogy is, as he explains, "To open our music to the world. To do this, I have been helped by many interesting musicians, which I am very grateful. My goal is to continue to open doors. “Therefore, he visits cities like San Francisco or New York but not limited to long study sessions. Junkera spends time on the streets, collecting testimonies from people they have met during his travels.

A camera man and a photographer accompanies him on this musical journey. Some of the testimonies he has collected during his stay in California come from people of Basque origin. "I am very interested into uniting this chorus," says the trikitilari. "The Basque people of California have given me a lot. These are people who enjoy these encounters and the experience is very positive. I receive love from them.”

In California, the main Basque communities are located in San Francisco, Fresno, Bakersfield and Chino. The people from Chino, located an hour from Los Angeles, have been directly involved in producing the next album of Junkera. And that 'Herria' includes several songs recorded with the group NOKA. "We have recorded” Eperra' "and some other themes. It’s being a very nice experience, "says Kepa Junkera. NOKA consists of three female descendants of Basques. The trio just released their second album of Basque folk songs, a work that fits well with the Junkera´s project. Besides recording with NOKA, visiting Chino, Kepa Junkera has been able to met the Basque Diaspora and collect their testimonies. Several people from the Euskal Etxea Chino (Chino Basque Club) have worked with the Biscay musician during his stay in the Californian state.
Junkera´s album will be ready later this year: "I would like to release it in November. So my goal is to finish it by October. We'll see.” Although he doesn´t known the number of songs included in 'Herria', the musician Biscay is convinced that it will exceed the twenty songs. “It will be a double album as well. Follow the designs of 'Etxea' and 'Kalea'.” From now until late summer, Kepa Junkera will continue to reside in California to continue his musical project.

sábado, 29 de mayo de 2010

June 1st KEPA JUNKERA will give a Masterclass and a small musical performance at the Stanford University, California

Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 18:00
Location: German Library, Pigott Hall, Room 252
Light refreshments will be served.

The composer and musician Kepa Junkera, one of the most important Basque musicians of our time, producer, performer and composer of all his songs of the 17 albums that make up, till today, his musical career, including his amazing Bilbao 00:00h as one of his key works. In 2004 Kepa received the Latin Grammy Award for Best Folk Music for K and HIRI was named the best album of folk music in Europe by the World Music Charts.

Kepa Junkera will be introduced by the distinguished Basque writer, Bernardo Atxaga, who is Eusko Ikaskuntza Visiting Professor if the Basque Culture at Stanford University. Mr Kepa Junkera will offer an evening of Basque music spiced with the interpretation of a variety of traditional Basque music instruments.

domingo, 23 de mayo de 2010

KEPA JUNKERA will perform at the Chino Basque Club

Kepa Junkera will be visiting the Chino Basque Club on Saturday evening May 22. He previously played at the Basque Cultural Center.

Junkera told Euskal Kazeta that his visit to Chino will coincide with a recording session in Los Angeles, where he will perform with blues musicians. He also hopes to work on a new music video while he is in the area before returning to the Bay Area after the Chino concert. In recent months, Junkera has been trying something new by recording with artists from a variety of genres. The songs have been in Euskera, the Basque language.

Junkera is probably the best internationally known Basque musician. He won his Latin Grammy in 2003 for Best Folk Album.

Raised in the Basque province of Bizkaia, Junkera has temporarily relocated his family to the Bay Area while he works with different artists in the U.S. and Latin America.

Information gathered by the

viernes, 14 de mayo de 2010

Accordian player and pianist make beautiful Basque music together in Boise

BOISE - Basque button accordion player Kepa Junkera, above left, is in Idaho working on a three-year project to record Basque music with musicians and singers from all over the world.

In Boise, he's recording with pianist Paul Tillotson, right, and singer Curtis Stigers, as well as bass player Rod Wray and drummer Spencer Martin from the Basque band Amuma Says No.

"Kepa is bringing Basque music and having American musicians interpret music in their own way," said Boise producer Gloria Totoricaguena. "Stigers and Tillotson grew up with Basque people; they know Basque culture and the Basques know them."

Junkera will give a free solo accordion concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Basque Center. "Indescribable," says Totoricaguena. "His accordion is his voice, his interpretation. It's a real lesson in artistry."

News and picture gathered from May 14,2010

lunes, 10 de mayo de 2010


Basque accordionist Kepa Junkera to perform in Boise on May 15th

Kepa Junkera is probably the best internationally known Basque musician in the world of Basque trikitixa diatonic accordion.

Grammy Award winning Basque accordionist Kepa Junkera will perform a free concert at the Basque Center this Saturday, May 15th, 2010, following the Mother's Day dinner.

Kepa Junkera is probably the best internationally known Basque musician in the world of Basque trikitixa diatonic accordion. Part of Junkera’s fame is his tendency to take traditional Basque music and give it a twist, creating something altogether new.

Beginning the instrument at a very young age, he was encouraged by his grandfather and his mother and Junkera quickly developed his own style. By 1983 he began playing with Oskorri, the leading Basque folk band of the day, performing and recording with them.

Kepa Junkera, from Busturia, Bizkaia, won his Grammy Award for Best Folk Album. He has two gold releases and won multiple international awards, bringing recognition to the Basque Country and appreciation to Basque music. He has recorded film soundtracks and 17 CDs and is finishing his latest CD featuring Boise musicians and singers.

Information from the


viernes, 9 de abril de 2010

The book "La tierra de Mil Tonás" by Maxi de la Peña

Kepa Junkera collaborated being interviewed and writing the preface for Maxi de la Peña´s book; “La tierra de Mil Tonás”.

Here is more information about the book published by the daily journal “El Diario Montañes” translated:


“Folklore is the musical expression array of the people’s culture for excellence. It represents the cycles of life, the work with the land, and the feast after the harvest.” This reflection made by the Portuguese singer and songwriter Dulce Pontes is one of the preface of the book “La tierra de Mil Tonás” written by the journalist of the “El Diario Montañes” native of the city of Santander, Maxi de la Peña. The new novel will be presented Thursday at 8:00pm at the Ateneo, a ceremony in which will assist, among the proper author, the journalist and student of traditional culture of Cantabria, Jesus Garcia Preciado.

The Portuguese artist Dulce Pontes, who will release her new album in a couple of day, prefaces the book written together with five other renowned musicians: Kepa Junkera, Uxía, Luis Delgado, Ana Alcaide and Paco Díez. Also, the director of the Culture section of this newspaper, Guillermo Balbona, gives us a journalistic profile of the work. The book just published b the editorial “Librucos” and distributed by 'Cantabria Tradicional Distribución' collects 51 interviews conducted between 2008 and 2009 in the “El Diario Montañes”.

jueves, 8 de abril de 2010


Kepa Junkera has been interviewed by Andrés Portero of the Basque newspaper DEIA and published his interview this Monday, April 5, 2010.

Here we publish the full interview translated to English for all of Kepa Junkera´s fans:

Junkera has released “Habana Sessions” recorded in Cuba with pianist Rolando Luna. In this album, Junkera´s triki takes a musical and physical stroll along the Malecón, this is the second part of Fandango, the trilogy in which he intends to “revisit” his career.

How and why did you propose the review of your discography?

Instead of the typical CD compilation it occurred to me to get into a new fresh project that I named Fandango. I thought: Why not choose the themes that the public most asks me in my concerts to play and give them a new turn around. I wanted to come up with different sounds and present my music in another register. The first disc, “Provença Sessions” I recorded with the quartet of mandolins, Melonious Quartet. Now “Habana Session is published with Rolando Luna.

They do like alike, a little, right?

Luna is perhaps the opposite polar in conception. With Melonious everything was well planned, but with Rolando it has been much more improvised, trying to save the freedom of the meeting of two musicians with different styles, almost as if it were a live concert. In both of these proposals I have sought the work in small formats without major effects. The instrument and the music are the true protagonists.

It is known your passion for Africa, Ireland, Central European folk but not so much about Cuban music.

I feel passionate about any music that excites me. All colonial music has interested me much because it brings together many different scents. I´m very interested in their textures and mixtures and their subsequent evolution in time.

Why did you choose Rolando Luna?

In one of my rips a friend on mine introduced him to me. After I invited him to collaborate in a concert and so on began our friendship.

What would you highlight about him?

That he is young and very generous, musically speaking. It’s amazing the huge talent that he has both rhythmic and harmonic. I like also the number of styles that he condenses in his interpretation from improvisation of jazz to classical music, contemporary, Cuban music……

Have you dreamed about surrounding your trikitixa with a piano?

Yes, it’s one of the instruments that I’m most passionate about, I even compose on it. I like its depth and what its gives me.

Combining rhythm and melody…

This is one of Rolando’s strong features, besides his concept of harmony and his fabulous introduction and improvisation that he makes. Also I have to highlight the rhythm section. We’re not going to discover now the polyrhythm’s that are made by these musicians and their culture.

This and the shared album with Julio Pereira, could be the most naked discography?

The trimmings, “clothing” you put in an album is not as important as is the intention. In the album “Lau Eskutara” I learned a lot. Sometimes one gets the wrong idea that the more “clothed” the more secure you will feel. It doesn’t have to be that way. From time to time it is very exciting to face a musical nudity. Throughout my career the list of collaborations both in records and is live concerts is huge but I also like to make things more intimate, as in this case. Who knows, in the future I just might do a solo.

How did you choose the repertoire? Some themes are repeated on the “Provença Sessions”.

These are the songs that are best suited for the CD. Here they are much slower than the previous one because they are compositions that are so strong that I needed to combine them with other themes more peaceful. It doesn’t bother me to repeat.

Musically component ranges from jazz and a trip to the sounds of Afro-Latino rhythms.

It is, but it came out with even us knowing it. I too was surprised by the result: It is a special work and, above all, intimate and personal. Rolando has a lot to do with that.

Recorded in Havana, how were the journey and the process?

Havana is a special place, a place with lots of colors, shades and scents. I have travelled there several times and I know people that have taken me, bring me and teach me….I’ve been fortunate to discover other colors and other aspects to the already know by others. It is a city that leaves no one indifferent. I remember recording with nostalgia.

Recorded where?

We recorded in Abdullah’s studios, along with my friend Orestes, a sound technician during 3 days. The day before, Rolando and I got together to look at the themes for the recording, the songs were sent by email months ago. We recorded the themes in the studio as if it was a live performance, with all its magic.

What do you think about the controversy over artists’ visit’s to Cuba?

I do not understand this controversy, less when music is the point. We must seize the high binding capacity and complicity of music to overcome contentious and complex.

Would you have participated?

Artists must have the freedom to play anywhere. Cultural exchange has always been one of the motives of our society and I can not understand why it has to mix music and culture with other things that have nothing to do with this.

jueves, 11 de marzo de 2010

KEPA JUNKERA collaborates in Emilio Aragon´s movie "PAJAROS DE PAPEL"

Tomorrow, March 12, Emilio Aragon´s debuts his first movie “PAJAROS DE PAPEL” (Birds of Paper). The movie takes you back to the Spanish post war by the hand of a company of comedian actors seeking a way to make a living after losing everything they had. The newly filmmaker acknowledges being inspired by his own family experiences to write this screenplay beside Fernando Castets, a work that Emilio Aragon has combined with the production but also with the soundtrack of the movie. A dramatic comedy that attempts to recreate intergenerational years of difficulty, showing the ability of calming the pain and sorrow among the people through their variety of shows they perform.
KEPA JUNKERA collaborates in Emilio Aragon´s movie but not only participating in the Original Soundtrack but also teaching, advising the leading actors everything about the trikitixa (diatonic accordion) theoretical as practical having this instrument a major role in the film.

miércoles, 10 de marzo de 2010

KEPA JUNKERA collaborates in the new CD of Kantika "KANTIKA SAKRA"

Kantika Korala presents their new album at the Champs Elysees Theater. The Champs Elysees Theater in Bilbao will host the 16th and 17th of March, two concerts by the Kantika Korala (Kantika Choir) from Leioa. A choir composed by fifty children between the ages of 10 to 17, directed by Basilio Astulez, that has been awarded important and numerous awards. They will be accompanied by the Young Orchestra of Leioa under the baton of Margarita Lorenzo de Reizábal, among some soloists.

The new album has, among others, the collaboration of the Young Orchestra of Leioa. To begin with the theme “Veni Sancte Spiritus” by the Japanese author Kentaro Sato to continue with the “Misa de Leioa” written by the argentine Dante Andreo. With the song “Magnificant” my Jaurne Garminde has participated KEPA JUNERA with his trikitixa, Ibon Koteron with the alboka and at the txalaparta Argibel Euba and Iñigo Olazabal. The concert will begin at 22:00.

information gather at

viernes, 19 de febrero de 2010

Kepa Junkera Hopes to Spread Basque Music

18 February 2010 by Nancy Zubiri

Kepa Junkera, probably the best internationally known Basque musician, is currently living in the United States to produce an album that aims to promote Basque music to a larger audience.

“I want to expose our culture to the outside world,” he said in a recent interview with Euskal Kazeta.

Junkera arrived with his family last August and settled in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco. His three children are attending school there. He chose the Bay Area because it’s very cosmopolitan. “And,” he says, “the geography is a paradise.”
Junkera plays his trikitixa (diatonic accordion).

Junkera plays his trikitixa (diatonic accordion).

“I think it’s important that they learn other languages and cultures,” Junkera says about his children. But he’s quick to add that “my home is still Bilbao.”

The world music and Basque folk music accordionist – known in Basque as a trikitilari because of the special diatonic button accordion he plays – is working on a trio of CDs that include many artists.

Part of Junkera’s fame is his tendency to take traditional Basque music and give it a twist, creating something altogether new. But with his current project, he goes back to his roots with well-known songs from the Basque Country. He noted that some of his compatriots tend to think the traditional music can only be sung by Basques. He’s turning that idea on its head, by asking singers from many countries to sing songs in Euskera, the language of the Basque people.

The first two parts of his CD trilogy — Etxea (Home) and Kalea (Street) — have already been released, and he is currently working on the third, Herria (Country), which he hopes will be out in November.

Since he started the project, he has traveled to several Latin American countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, where he recorded with a number of singers. Now he is focusing on working with musicians in the United States. He recently went to San Antonio, Texas, to record some songs and play at the San Antonio Accordion Festival. And he has already recorded songs with people from around the globe who are living in the U.S., such as Chinese, Japanese and Armenian singers. San Rafael serves as his base of operations, he says, noting that he’ll rent a studio wherever he needs one, including Los Angeles, New York and Miami.
Junkera on stage with his band.

Junkera on stage with his band.

Junkera is a self-taught accordionist who grew up in a family where music overflowed. During the recent phone interview from his current home in San Rafael, Junkera recalled receiving his first trikitixa when he was about 10.

“Me dejaron una acordión muy viejita la pobre,” he said in Spanish – they gave him an old accordion. He taught himself to play it, listening to music and attempting songs on his own. Looking back, he thinks he may not have been so interested in the music if he had been formally taught. “When you realize you can do it, it gives you energy.”

He didn’t have a long-term goal when he started. “Each time you reach one goal, you start thinking of the next one,” he noted. He began playing music in the streets when he was about 12 or 13. He is grateful for being taken in by the Basque group Oskorri for several years, recording with them. He recorded his own first album in 1988, when he was 23. Since then he has recorded over a dozen more of his own albums, and began producing albums of other musicians as well. His album Hiri, released in 2006, won best World Music Album of the Year in Europe.
Junkera with his diatonic accordion.

Junkera with his diatonic accordion.

Junkera turns 45 this year, but he’s not tired of the trikitixa.

“Me da alegria,” he noted. It makes him happy. It’s uplifting music, he says. “It incites people to dance.”

The diatonic accordion has buttons on both sides and is traditionally played in a duet known as trikitilariak with another musician playing the tambourine or pandareta. It’s gone through a renaissance in the Basque Country in the last few years, which Junkera attributes to a change in the type of people who play it now.
Easy AdSense by Unreal

“It’s gone from the countryside to the city,” he said, adding that before, people who played it were not formally trained in music, whereas now, sophisticated musicians are taking up the instrument. In his own music, he has also promoted other traditional Basque instruments such as the txalaparta, the txistu and the alboka.

As part of his stay in the U.S., Junkera has scheduled several concerts. In January he performed at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco, and he played at an arts center in Fallon, Nevada last November He has two concerts lined up in Lafayette, Louisiana for April 24 and 25 and perhaps another in Tempe, Ariz.

But he also frequently returns to Europe, to play there as well. He returned in November for the release of Kalea and will be there at the end of February for a concert with the orchestra of Euskadi.

Junkera said his goal has always been to share Basque music, and that is also the aim of his musical trilogy. “Basque music has a unique personality and it can be molded.”

For the three CDs, he has recorded with over 80 artists from 11 different countries, including Juanes, Pablo Milanes and Lila Downs. How did he meet all of them? Some he met while working with other musicians, while the names of others were passed along to him by musician friends.

Junkera noted that they have all reacted positively when he approached them about singing music in Basque.

“Musicians are people who are interested in culture,” he pointed out. Most of them were at least familiar with the Basque culture.

Typically he sends them the music and lyrics ahead of time, including a translation in their own language, so they know what they are singing about.

“But then I give them freedom to develop their own interpretation,” he noted.

See Kepa on myspace.

See Kepa Junkera’s website

See a song from Kepa’s Kalea album on Youtube

See Maitia Nun Zira from Kepa’s Etxea album on Youtube

Kepa talks about the release of the first CD of the trilogy, Etxea on Youtube.

Juanes sings Aldapeko with Kepa on his album Kalea

miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2010


Kepa Junkera´s new album HABANA SESSIONS has just been released on the market.

This album is a duo with the Cuban pianist Rolando Luna, is a true reflection of a reunion between two fantastic musicians, giving out quality and complicity but over all demonstrating to us that the music and art only understands feelings, experiences and sensations.

This new album includes 11 musical pieces in which you will only hear the sounds of a piano and a trikitixa, HABANA SESSIONS that will complete the project of FANDANGO he started last year in June with Provença Sessions.

A contagious album full of quality and freshness with the trikitixa and the melodies of Kepa Junkera, entirely recorded in the city of Havana (Cuba) in April 2009

Junkera has spiced with simplicity and subtlety of the Cuban musician Rolando Luna, the pianist of the group “Buena Vista Social Club” starring together in a different and personal CD, filled with strength and with a special energy, receiving each other’s music with absolute complicity and seeking to convey the essence of a direct concert, feeling the closeness with their public.

Following the line of the FANDANGO project, in which HABANA SESSIONS is part of, the CD gives us an overview of the themes that best suits the essence of this compilation. Two musicians that meet in any small local or in any place of the world and start to play their instruments.

A clear, honest and intimate album with a predecessor that comes to define FANDANGO, as one of the most eclectic projects, musically speaking, in Kepa Junkera´s discography.

To listen to the single or buy the album visit:

domingo, 14 de febrero de 2010


The video, 'The Basque ball game' promoted by the Basque Museum, produced by K2000 and the music of Kepa Junkera, has been awarded BEST MEDIUM-LENGTH FILM, the decision was unanimous between the jury in the FIAMP AWARDS 2009, held at the National Cinema Museum in Turin, Italy.

This short film was selected from over more than 200 films that participated for this award, This short film show us the evolution of the hand ball game and all the different aspects that accompanies it, as the bleachers, spectators and the bets, while giving the audience a closer look of the making of the ball itself, the star of the film. It has been recorded and designed in high definition and is displayed on a 7 meter screen!

From here we want to congratulate each and every one that has taken part in making of this laborious film. Through image, music and the different sounds associated with the World of the Basque Ball Game, taking us to a detailed story filled with energy and all the different variants giving us the true essence of a game, the ball game, which is one of the most characteristic identities of our culture.

jueves, 11 de febrero de 2010


Here is the new single of Kepa Junkers´s latest album HABANA SESSIONS, that will be released next month. The album, entirely recorded in Habana, Cuba with the special collaboration of the pianist of the group “Buena Vista Social Club” Rolando Luna.

A duelling album between Kepa Junkera´s trikitixa and the piano of Rolando Luna filled with magic, strength and passion.

here´s the link:

viernes, 29 de enero de 2010


Soon, Kepa Junkera will present his new album in the series of FANDANGO, Habana Sessions.

For more information visit the website;


KALEA, Kepa Junkera´s lasted album has been nominated for the 14th Edition of the Music Awards in the section of the Music Awards in the section of “Best Traditional Music Album” the 17th of Feb. we will know the winners.

This time Kalea will compete against “Ao Vivo” by the Galician band Luar Na Lubre and the album “Alborado Do Brasil” by Carlos Nuñez.

Mikel Urdangarin with his song “Karoline” in the section of “Best Song in Euskera” (Basque language) and Fito Cabrales and his band “Fito y los Fitipaldis” in the section of Best Album, among others, are some of the Basque nominees in this Edition.

The short film EL JUEGO VASCO DE LA PELOTA competes for the FIAMP Awards

The short film "El juego vasco de la pelota" (The Basque Ball Game) promoted by the Basque Museum of Bilbao, produced by K2000 with the music of Kepa Junkera, has been selected as a candidate for the FIAMP Awards 2009, that will be held at the National Cinema Museum in Turin, the 14th of Feb. The festival is sponsored by The International Council of Museums, for the development and the new technology in sound and image.

Many shor films from worldwide cultural institutions aspire to win this award.

This production is part of the exhibition "El juego vasco de la pelota" that is held at the Basque Museum since late June.

This short film show us the evolution of the hand ball game and all the different aspects that accompanies it, as the bleachers, spectators and the bets, while giving the audience a closer look of the making of the ball itself, the star of the film. It has been recorded and designed in high definition and is displayed on a 7 meter screen!