Mercedes Mendive

Mercedes Mendive was born in Elko, Nevada, in 1970, to Joe and Veronica Mendive. She also lived in Reno and 11 years in Miami, Florida. Her father, Joe Mendive, was involved in the preservation of Basque music and he was one of her greatest influences beginning at a young age. Mercedes’ parents were always a huge support and made it possible for her to acquire the instruments that she needed to evolve with the accordion, which wasn't an easy task back in the early to mid- 1980's. Good accordions were more difficult to find as there was no Google, EBay or Internet. It took them years to locate the factory in Italy who made Paolo Soprani accordions: however, once the Mendive family was able to make contact (with the help of a family friend who did business in Italy), her parents ordered her first professional accordion (around 1993). From the moment she received her accordion, she began an incredible musical journey that has shaped her life in ways she could have never imagined.

Her instructor for the accordion was Bernardo Yanci. She took accordion lessons from 1980 until approximately 1983. She would often call upon Bernardo for his advice on complex music. Although she didn't have weekly instruction after 1983, Bernardo was always available anytime Mercedes needed him. She says she could not be who she is today without him. Bernardo was such a tremendous musician, friend and musical inspiration to her. His musical style and technique is something that has had considerable influence on how she interprets music. According to her, she was very fortunate to learn this from him and it is something that she keeps in her pocket everywhere she goes. 

Mercedes played piano for a short period of time. She also played trombone in high school and would occasionally solo at concerts with her accordion. She says that, interestingly, when she began playing the piano, it didn't feel right; if anything, it felt foreign to her. But the moment she put on an accordion and began to tinker with the keyboard and bass, it felt natural to her. 

That is why she has played accordion since 1980 and she is currently studying trikitixa (the button accordion).

She recorded her first album/CD project in 2003 entitled "Journey to Euskadi". This album was influenced by a solo trip she took to the Basque Country in 2001 to surprise a friend for her wedding. There was so much inspiration from this trip. While sitting in her cousin's piso in Burlada, Pamplona, she wrote several songs with a borrowed accordion. Once she returned home to the United States, she finished the music for her album in a matter of weeks.

Currently, Mercedes is working on new music and finally working on the production of a second album which will also include vocals. She will likely have a demo prepared in 2016 with a release to follow in 2017/2018.

Source: Personal interview with Mercedes. 

Mercedes webpage


Mercedes Mendive playing her pianno accordion, with Jean Iribarne playing clarinet, Juan (Bermeo) Uriaguerca at tambourine, and Maite (Uriaguereca) Moiola with the microphone.

Audio Recording: 
Gudari Txiki, from the Album "Journey to Euskadi", (2003), M.M.M. Music.
Pelotari Fandango, from the Album "Journey to Euskadi", (2003), M.M.M. Music.