Jean Louis Curutchet

1997 - Jean Louis Curutchet on Accordion.

Jean Louis is a well-known musician in San Francisco and the entire California Basque community, playing for decades beginning in the 1980s. Jean Louis is a master of the piano accordion and he also plays the bass drum in the San Francisco Klika. He was born in San Francisco, but his father came from Ezterenzubi, Nafarroa Beherea.

When he was eight years old Jean Louis became acquainted with a group of local Basques from San Francisco who were also interested in learning to play the piano accordion. He received his instruction from an Italian accordion teacher. A key factor in Jean Louis’ musical development was his attendance at NABO music camps in the 1970s and ‘80s where he learned to play accordion from Jim Jausoro and Bernardo Yanci. Later he would become a teacher himself for the music camps. In addition to Jausoro and Yanci, he named as mentors Alain Erdoinzaincy and Jim Etchepare, both Basque musicians in the Bay Are as well as Louis Camblour in the Basque Country...

Jean Louis had his own band and played at events all around California. He played with another well-known Basque accordionist, Jean Flesher when Jean was living in San Francisco. At one picnic on Gardnerville, Alain Erdozaincy was not available to play music, so Jean Louis substituted for him.  After that, during the years when Jean Louis led his own band, Jean Louis played with several drummers including Rene Caballero, Mike Alfaro, Eric Ourtiague, and Emile Goyhenetche. They played for the Basque picnics in Reno, Gardnerville, and San Francisco.

Jean Louis also played for many years for the San Francisco Basque dance group, Zazpiak Bat and was an accordion teacher for Udalekus music camps in Salt Lake City, Los Banos, and San Francisco.  Jean Louis stopped playing professionally when he was 28 years old but still plays occasionally.

For Jean Louis, playing accordion is a way to keep alive a very unique and pure culture and keeping the old ways of the Basque Culture.

Jean Louis Curutchet and Jean Fletcher.