Mugalari, a Basque local insider

Mugalari, a Basque local insider

Some people have the power to make you feel good with their talk

A few days ago I went to see Juan Perro in concert, in a small theatre in a town near Bilbao. He’s a well-known spanish musician and a referent to a whole generation of people in Spain. In his concerts, he’s sitting in a plain chair with his guitar plugged to the amplifiers. He just has to open his mouth and let that strength of voice out to bring the audience to a standstill, paralyzed, just listening to him, no matter if he’s singing or chatting about Chuck Berry or even Gongora (a classical Spanish poet!) between one song and the next one. His stories are such that you even think of reading classical poetry when you arrive home later. Absolutely true! His tour is named “El Viaje” – The journey, in Spanish.

When you listen to him you have that feeling, just as when you’re among friends, and there is one of them that has that quality that makes everybody else listen to him for hours without even notice…

So, he reminded me of my friend Mikel “Mugalari”, a Basque local insider, because he has that very quality too. He’s a truly Bilbao insider, there are no secrets for him there. When you walk through Bilbao with Mikel telling you those stories, you just keep listening to them and time goes by so quickly. And he knows about every little hidden tavern where they have the best pintxos in town. Or where to find the oldest and coolest restaurant in the Old Quarter…

Now that Bilbao is attracting attention from all over the world, here there are some starters to begin with, but if you really want to be a border crosser – a mugalari in Basque language – and going a bit further, just like a Basque local insider, you’d better call Mikel!


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