Josie Bilbao Egurrola (Bourke)

1987 - Josie playing txistu in the Jaialdi 1987.

Josie feels grateful for the many people who made music such an important part of her life. Josie fondly remembers her great grandmother, Amuma Dodo (Maria Dolores Aguirre Garramiola Bicandi), singing the songs of her Ondarroa childhood, sparking Josie's love of music1.

Josie's parents (Julio and Julie Bilbao) made music a priority in their home. They provided opportunities for Josie and her sisters to take music lessons, and Josie began to play the piano and txistu at age 5. Jon Onatibia and Mentxaka taught Josie txistu at NABO music camps in 1975. Jimmy Jausoro led Sunday night txistu lessons at the Boise Basque Center in 1977.

Between 1983-1987, Josie was a txistulari for the Oinkari Basque Dancers. She also played txistu for the Onatiko Dantzak at Boiseko San Ignacio celebrations.  In 1980's she used to play txistu for all kind of Basque social events with Janice Manivil, Cathy Clarkson and Edu Sarria as the txistu band for  Boise. Actually they play for the President of the Basque Country, the Lehendakari once. 

In the mid 1990's, Josie enjoyed playing txistu and txirula with her friends in Boise's Gaupasa Band. Josie moved to Portland,Oregon in 1998 where she met and married John Henry Bourke, a professional musician of Irish descent. Today, Josie, JH and their son Julio love to play music together, parading around their home playing txistus, penny whistles, and kazoos while banging on pots and pans. At night, Josie sings Julio to sleep with the songs her Amuma Dodo taught her, passing the love of music on to the next generation2.


1Information kindly provided by Josie Bilbao.

1970s - Josie, Anita and Julie playing txistu for Joe Eiguren in his house. 

1980s - Janice Mainvil and Josie Bilbao playing txistu and drums at the Grove Plaza in Boise, Idaho.

Text by Eneko Tuduri.

Audio Recording: 
Boga-Boga, by Maria Dolores Aguirre Garramiola Bicandi, 1.