Kepa Junkera produces ‘HERRIA’, his last album of his international collective project.
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Maider IZETA | LOS ANGELES. News published in the Diario Vasco on June 6, 2010
He has recorded with singers of Iranian origin, Korean and Navajo Indian musicians
A camera man and a photographer accompanies Kepa Junkera during this musical journey
“The Basque people of California have given me a lot. They are people who enjoy these encounters ”
“Years ago I made a bet. As a musician, you have to consider challenges. There are many artists I admire and with whom I have always wanted to collaborate and work with them it´s a source of energy for me. “These are the convincing words of the musician of Biscay, Kepa Junkera when he speaks of ‘Etxea‘ and ‘Kalea‘, the first two albums of his trilogy of Basque songs that will come to an end in a few months with ‘Herria‘ and which is much more than a collection of traditional songs versions sung in Euskera by a wide range of guest artists.
The first two installments of this project which, judging by the given names to the records, travel from private space of home to the city’s public, passing through the nexus of both, the street, were released 2008 and 2009, respectively. Today, Junkera is immersed in the production of ‘Herria‘, the latest album of a project that, in the last legislature, was financially supported by the Basque Government.
As in the previous work, the Biscayan musician has been traveling to Europe, Africa and America in search of unique sounds to merge with the rhythmic melodies of trikitixa. This search has led him to settle temporarily in California. “I’ve been in cities like San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland …, places that attract me much by its diversity,” he says. In his visits to those cities, Junkera has recorded with Iranian-born singers, Korean musicians, Navajo Indians and a blues band, among others.
Continues to open doors
But Kepa Junkera´s project goes beyond the merely musical. His goal in this trilogy is, as he explains, “To open our music to the world. To do this, I have been helped by many interesting musicians, which I am very grateful. My goal is to continue to open doors. “Therefore, he visits cities like San Francisco or New York but not limited to long study sessions. Junkera spends time on the streets, collecting testimonies from people they have met during his travels.
A camera man and a photographer accompanies him on this musical journey. Some of the testimonies he has collected during his stay in California come from people of Basque origin. “I am very interested into uniting this chorus,” says the trikitilari. “The Basque people of California have given me a lot. These are people who enjoy these encounters and the experience is very positive. I receive love from them.”
In California, the main Basque communities are located in San Francisco, Fresno, Bakersfield and Chino. The people from Chino, located an hour from Los Angeles, have been directly involved in producing the next album of Junkera. And that ‘Herria‘ includes several songs recorded with the group NOKA. “We have recorded” Eperra’ “and some other themes. It’s being a very nice experience, “says Kepa Junkera. NOKA consists of three female descendants of Basques. The trio just released their second album of Basque folk songs, a work that fits well with the Junkera´s project. Besides recording with NOKA, visiting Chino, Kepa Junkera has been able to met the Basque Diaspora and collect their testimonies. Several people from the Euskal Etxea Chino (Chino Basque Club) have worked with the Biscay musician during his stay in the Californian state.
Junkera´s album will be ready later this year: “I would like to release it in November. So my goal is to finish it by October. We’ll see.” Although he doesn´t known the number of songs included in ‘Herria‘, the musician Biscay is convinced that it will exceed the twenty songs. “It will be a double album as well. Follow the designs of ‘Etxea‘ and ‘Kalea‘.” From now until late summer, Kepa Junkera will continue to reside in California to continue his musical project.
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