Maite Uriaguereca Moiola

Maite (Uriaguereca) Moiola. at the Elko Basque Festival, 2001. Photo provided by Mercedes Mendive.

Maite was born and raised in Bermeo Bizkaia. Early on she learned to play guitar and sing as she took part in local music competitions. Her father, Juan Manuel Uriaguereca “Bermeo”, came to the United States in 1964 to work in the sheep industry in Jerome, Idaho. After some years as a sheepherder he moved to Elko, Nevada, where his daughter visited him in 1978, and then decided to stay.

Juan Manuel played tambourine with Bernardo Yanci and Jean Iribarne. Juan learned to play tambourine from his family in the old country and in the United States he learned to play trikitixa (button accordion) by ear in the sheep camps.

Maite, however remained in the Basque Country in the ‘60s when many new singers and Basque song writers such as Mikel Laboa, Xabier Lete and Lourdes Iriondo rose to popularity. She learned to play guitar and sing under their influence. Her greatest influence, however, was Ana Lupe, a friend who was also a song writer, guitar player and singer. Maite wrote her first two songs at age15 - one called Oroitzak (memories in Basque) about her brother living in France and the song Jainkoak. She also sang and played the guitar on other songs such as Agurra, Hegoak Ebaki Banizkion, from Mikel Laboa and Aitorren Hizkuntz Zaharra from Urretxindorrak.

Nowadays, Maite helps in the Basque club and plays and sings for the dance group Ardi Beltza with Mercedes Mendive. She also plays for the Basque festivals in Elko with Mikel and Ana Marie Lopetegui as well as singing and playing guitar for Basque Masses. The group Ardi Beltza is comprised of:

Shan Zabala (guitar)

Heston Zabala (drums)

Mikel Lopetegui (accordion)

Anna Marie Lopetegui (tambourine)

And Maite herself on guitar and vocals and as emcee for the group.

In 2016 they had the opportunity and the honor to represent the Elko Basque Community and the state of Nevada at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington D.C.

Source: Personal interview with Maite on June 24, 2016.

Text by Eneko Tuduri.