Lertxundi was born in Orio (Gipuzkoa) 6th January, 1942 on The
Wise Men's day. He is the eldest of 9 brothers and sisters
from a large, modest family.
family was not traditionally musical although they did enjoy singing
on special occasions. Benito himself showed a greater interest
in drawing rather than music, although he remembers how he liked
listening to the local organist secretly and in silence. He didn't
like the official teaching of the times, with an imposed language
which was not his mother tongue. Once he had finished school he
studied at the Fine Art's School of the Franciscans in Zarautz.
He learnt to model clay and wood; he won several awards and he
obtained his first job as a wood carver.
he was 19 he began to work in Martin Lizaso's watchmaker's
shop, where he learnt to repair watches and made a crucial discovery.
One day Lizaso brought him an old lute and Lertxundi started tuning
and playing it in his own way. He enjoyed the experience, the following
step was to buy an electric guitar. He practiced in the watchmaker's
shop, before it opened, in the afternoon, making Basque versions
of his favourite musical groups and singers: The Shadows, Cliff
Richards, Elvis Presley…
with Mikel Laboa (1970)
his inclination towards music was not done in public until he entered
a singing contest organised by a newspaper from San Sebastian called
La Voz de España. He was one more out of the 400 or 500 contestants
who went to The Bellas Artes Theatre, but he was chosen the winner
and since then things began to change: he became famous in his village… and
he received a call from Mikel Laboa.
Towards 1965 the Ez Dok Amairu movement was beginning, with artists
such as, The Artza Brothers, Jose Angel Irigarai, Lourdes Iriondo,
Xabier Lete, Julen Lekuona, Laboa himself… Oteiza's
influence, during that great momentum which tried to renovate
Basque Art and make society aware of it. Ez Dok Amairu happened
to be a magnificent place to experiment and learn, and despite
it breaking up in 1972, it had already made a mark and impression
his first long play record with his name as the title was published:
Benito Lertxundi. Actually, it was a collection of his first singles:
his first love and fight songs, which he sang with the guitar as
his only aid, combining popular themes which had already been written,
despite the fact that nowadays we could think he was musically
text has been translated from the brochure in Hunkidura
Kuttunak. Elkarlanean, 1993)