Pedro Juan Etchamendy

Pedro Juan Etchamendy playing accordion.

"Born in the small community of Ondarrola located in the municipality of Arnegi (Arneguy), Benafarroa, France, in 1914, Pedro Juan Etchamendy took an early interest in music. By the time he was 12 years old, Pedro's brother had purchased a diatonic accordion, and when his brother no longer was interested in the instrument, Pedro began to play. Soon he was performing in public, providing music for people to dance. He became a student of Manix Urruty, a musician and music professor, and from this association, young Pedro began to play the trumpet and chromatic accordion. He became recognized for his musical talents, and formed a band to play for town festivals, weddings, and other public events. 

In 1950, he came to the United States where his music career was put on hold until the early 1970s, when the txistu (small Basque flute) captured his attention. He worked with the Basque Studies Program at the University of Nevada in Reno, teaching the txistu. He listened to, and remembered many of the songs of the Basque Country, and has transcribed them to sheet music. There are an estimated 700 songs now in the Archives at the Filer Public Library and the Basque Museum & Cultural Center from Etchamendy's work of which there are approximately 350 songs with lyrics. He contributed to the North American Basque Organization's song book, and has composed music for the txistu as well.

Etchamendy was honored for his talent and efforts to preserve Basque music here in the United States with the NABO Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center's 12th Anniversary Celebration.  NABO sponsored the awards and selected the recipients. His considerable contribution to the Basque Music Archives will be jointly shared by the Filer Public Library in Filer, Idaho and the Basque Museum & Cultural Center in Boise, Idaho. "

Pedro Juan put together an orchestra , with his relative Domingo Etchamendi in Chino when he arrived to America.

From T. Khteian-Keeton: Guide to Basque Music, Idaho Arts Archives & Research Center, Inc. Boise, Idaho.

Also: Jean Flesher and his Basque Musicianship in the Western United States article.

Audio Recording: 
John Yzurza speaking about Pedro Juan Etchemendy's life, 1994 NABO Accordion Festival. Recording provided by Jean Flesher.
Ondarrola Fandango and Ondarrola Arin Arin, composed by Pedro Juan, played by Dennise Duhart1994 NABO Accordion Festival. Record
Pedro Juan Etchamendy's Antoni played by Dennise Duhart, 1994 NABO Accordion Festival. Recording provided by Jean Flesher.