Tag: accordion

Naiara de la Puente – A Basque at the Latin Grammy Awards

The Latin Grammy Awards will be held tonight, November 17, in Los Angeles, and this year the accordionist Naiara de la Puente, a native of the capital Vitoria-Gasteiz, is up for the Best Latin Children’s Album award, thanks to her collaboration on Canciones y Palabras, organized by Veleta Roja Editions.


De la Puente is quite an accomplished musician. She holds a degree in Accordion Pedagogy from Musikene (the Conservatory of the Basque Country) as well as a Master’s in Music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and she undertook a graduate course at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the Sibelius Academy. She has won awards at the Certamen Nacional de Arrasate, the V Concurso Instrumental Sant Anastasi, the Grand Prix de Andorra, and the Certamen Internacional Jóvenes Intérpretes Pedro Bote. Alongside her solo performances, she is a member of the Krater and SMASH Ensembles.


The album Canciones y Palabras is based on 10 poems by Cuban writer Aldo Méndez. The format is more than just a recording: it includes an illustrated book that contains each of the songs and poems alongside activities designed to spark youngsters’ musical creativity. Carlos Cano and Henrán Milla, both professors at the Marcos Redondo Conservatory in Ciudad Real, were in charge of putting together the project and making the poems into music, while Inés Vilpi illustrated the book. Dozens of musicians are present in the project. Overall, the album represents a greater collaboration between musicians and artists and we wish them luck, zorte on!

For more information on Naiara de la Puente, please visit her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/naiaradelapuenteaccordionist/

EITB has a short video up (in Spanish) about Naiara and the album, available at: http://www.eitb.eus/es/cultura/videos/detalle/4488045/video-la-vitoriana-naiara-puente-nominada-premios-grammy/

Lastly, be sure to visit Veleta Roja’s website: http://www.veletaroja.org/#


Recently I was invited out to the Mendeguia sheep camp for a picnic with some of the visiting USAC scholars. The Mendeguia sheep camp is the Sierra Nevada, north of Truckee, California. Although the Mendeguia’s retired many years ago, they continue to consider this a very special home away from home and it was treat to spend time there with them.

As is often the case at a Basque get together, an instrument appeared (in this case a trikitixa), and everyone enjoyed the songs, especially the daughter of one of the USAC visiting scholars, who decided to accompany the accordionist with an improvised txalaparta!

Photo Aug 10, 4 18 31 PM

The old dining house, once the heart of the sheep camp, falling into disrepair.

Photo Aug 10, 4 14 09 PM

The bread oven. Wednesday was bread baking day, they used 50 lbs of flour at a time. The following day the camptender would deliver fresh bread to the bands spread through the summer range.

Photo Aug 10, 5 24 08 PM

Abel Mendeguia, originally from Lesaka, making his world-famous sheep camp fried potatoes to the absolute delight of the crowd.

Here is another video, of the txalaparta, that is included as an extra on the accompanying DVD to our great ethnomusicography, Alejandro Aldekoa: Master of Pipe and Tabor Dance Music in the Basque CountryThe video originally aired on Basque television in the 1980s.