Jean Iribarne

Jean Iribarne playing clarinet at the Elko Basque Festival, 2001. Photo provided by Mercedes Mendive.

Jean was born in Arnegi in Baxe Nabarre. He was a classically trained Basque musician, having studied and played with some of the best musicians at that time in Garazi the region where his village was located. The Orchestra Ramuntcho, was the legacy of the important Basque musical pioneer Faustin Bentaberry, It was key in the consolidation of Basque dances and traditions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Jean learned to play the clarinet in the style of this legacy and his music is an example of it. He settled in Elko, Nevada, and along with Bernardo Yanci and "Bermeo" (Juan Manuel Uriaguereca) became one of the most important Basque musicians of the area, playing for almost all the Basque Festivals in Elko. He also taught dancing to the young Basques of Elko.

His music has influenced many younger Basque musicians after him. According to Jean Flesher, he is the last great Basque musician alive1

1, Information graciously provided by Jean Flesher.

Bernardo Yanci playing accordion with Jean Iribarne playing clarinete, Elko, Nevada.

Text by Eneko Tuduri.