Kepa Junkera — Bilbao 00:00 h
(Resistencia RESCD-065, 1998, 2CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2000-05-01
The first I ever heard of Kepa Junkera was at the first WOMAD USA festival. He was an unknown quantity that my wife and I checked out and became enraptured with. He plays the traditional Basque versions of the accordion with names strange to the English-speaker, but has expanded well beyond the confines of traditional Basque music. In the live setting he was joined by stand-up bass, drums, and acoustic guitar, and they played a fluid, rhythmic stew that had me totally fascinated. Justin Vali, the Malagasy master of the valiha, joined him on stage for a few numbers. Luckily, the WOMAD merchandise stands had this import-only double CD available, and even the steep price tag couldn’t keep us away. On this set, Junkera and his band are joined by great players from all over the world, including Béla Fleck, Justin Vali, Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains, members of Hedningarna, and a host of others. Bilbao is packaged beautifully as a little hardbound book, with 140 pages of liner notes (in Spanish and Basque, with translations in English and French) and photographs. All in all, it is quite a treasure for the musically adventurous.
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