Interview with Mercedes Mendive, Elko, Nevada

Accordionist Mercedes Mendive is the daughter of Joe and Veronica Mendive. She attended schools in Elko and has lived in Reno, as well as eleven years in Miami, Florida. Her father was one of her greatest influences beginning at a very young age, when the sound of the accordion was constantly present in her world. Mercedes’ musical journey has taken her to prestigious accordion festivals in Texas, Orlando, Florida, Miami, as well as festivals in California, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and all over the state of Nevada. Mercedes was invited to perform in July 2016 for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival while accompanying the Elko Ariñak Basque Dancers (Basque Dancers of the Great Basin). One of Mercedes’ latest endeavors is the Ariñak Project that she co-founded during the summer of 2016 with lifelong friend and fellow dancer/musician Janet Iribarne. Their focus is to elaborate on the Basque culture not only with traditional dances, but with new dances, new music, instruments, language, and songs. Most recently, Mercedes was a featured performing artist with her band, Melodikoa, who performed throughout the prestigious 2018 National Cowboy Gathering in late January/early February in Elko, Nevada, titled Basques and Buckaroos. 
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 10/07/2020.