Elustondo is both the name of this trikitixa duo and the title of their new album. Trikitixa (diatonic accordion) and panderoa (tambourine) duos have a proud history in Basque roots music and the genre continues to be widespread. In fact, it is fair to say that it’s the most deeply rooted popular music in the Basque Country. This album carries on the tradition through Elustondo one of a large number of younger talents who emerged to perpetuate the style and offer encouragement for others to follow.
Agurtzane Elustondo began playing trikitixa when she was eight years old and studied with the great living master Laja. She presents a unique way of playing the instrument with precise rhythms but also a personal expressive touch. She is accompanied by her brother Ion on panderoa. Despite the duo’s strength and sureness this is their debut album. Many of the choices of composition are inspired by various pieces by the well-known trikitixa player Martin Aginalde while some of the music is traditional.
Both songs and tunes are represented and Ion Elustondo adds vocals as well as irrintziak: the loud joyous yelling which plays a similar role to hayashi in Okinawan songs. They are also joined by several friends and collaborators with bass, drums, guitar, mandolin and vocals here and there. Not least among the list of collaborators is the famed trikitixa player Kepa Junkera who has himself done more than most to popularise the music with recordings and appearances at world music festivals.
The small accordion is not to everyone’s taste and listening to 45 minutes of it in one go might seem a bit daunting. Elustondo do their very best to make sure the ride is a joyous one and their enthusiasm, not to mention their sheer musicianship, is so infectious that it’s more likely to make the listener want to dance.
Elustondo is released by Elkar.
Here is a link to a video of Elustondo performing ‘Non gara?’ the opening track from the album: