Mike Bidart

Iñaki Dieguez (left) Mike Bidart (right) in a improvised concert. Photo Euskalkultura.

Mike Bidart is the son of Basque immigrants who came to California from Ibarrala, Nafarroa in the 1930s. He was born in California and plays the piano accordion in the Basque community of Chino. When Mike was young he was influenced by his cousin, Benat, from Gamarte, Nafarroa, how was an accordion player in the Basque Country and other cousin in Chino Benat Etcheverria how also played accordion. Under his cousin influences Mike started taking lessons when he was eight years old. He has played and continues to play the piano accordion since he was young.

Mike also sings in Basque so he knows a lot of the traditional Basque tunes and songs. He uses the melodies from traditional songs and adapts them to the accordion. Maiana, Kegi, Mutxikuak, Lapurtarrak, Lapurtar Motzak, Jotas, Bolan dantza, Jarrondola…are examples of songs he knows how to play and sing.

When he was younger he played for the Gauden Bat Chino Basque Dancers, from 1966 to 1974. He even played for a Basque Restaurant in La Puente for the entertainment of their customers. He used to play with Bernardo Yanci at the Elko Basque Festival and he regularly attended many other Basque picnics in California where he and his wife, who is also an accordionist, would play.  

Mike still plays the accordion and recently recorded a song with Inaki Dieguez, an accordionist. Inaki’s album is titled, “Birak”, and the song that Mike Bidart participated in is called “Bidart-ena.”  The album was released in 2013.  

Source: Interview by Eneko Tuduri, 8.30.2016.