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Long Beach, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Long Beach, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Duo Folk Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Buskerfest-Winning Duo Bearcoon Completes Debut Album"

Long Beach musicians Andrea Walker and Solange Igoa—collectively known as Bearcoon—have just parlayed their winnings from last summer's Long Beach Buskerfest concert/contest into a nine-song album, "El Guapo," produced by Long Beach music mainstay Antoine Arvizu.

Buskerfest is the end-of-summer grand finale of the Summer And Music concert series, which was created by Justin Hectus and Fingerprints Records owner Rand Foster. "The original idea of Buskerfest was to feature simple, stripped-down live music," says Foster. "In an age of gimmicks and stylists, it's great to have a band succeed on the strength of their songs and a dynamic live performance."

"This is one of my favorite records I've ever worked on, for the music and for the experience," says "El Guapo" producer Arvizu, who hosted Bearcoon in January for a labor-intensive two-day session at his Signal Hill recording studio, The Compound. Arvizu, who grew up in Lakewood, has a deep resume that includes engineering on Sublime's 1992 debut album "40 Oz. to Freedom" and manning the soundboard at singer/songwriter Jay Buchanan's recent Bixby Knolls show. "Bearcoon is willing to be raw and honest, but they're also willing to listen, which I'm very grateful for," Arvizu says.

"Antoine had really good ideas—he was super-invested in the project," says Bearcoon's Solange Igoa. "The album is full of little magical sprinkles that a good producer can add." For "El Guapo," Bearcoon and Arvizu kept their approach simple and duo-based but in some spots added a little bass, some percussion and, on one song, a small choir of friends.

Bearcoon has been gigging a lot locally for the last couple of years at venues like The Federal Bar, 4th Street Vine, BO-Beau, and the Viento y Agua coffeehouse, giving them a chance to hone their songs thoroughly. Many of the songs on "El Guapo" deal with themes inspired by the illness and passing of songwriter Walker's mother a few years ago. "I have a strong ability to get in touch with my own emotions and translate those into sound and rhythms," says Walker, whose remarkable skills on guitar help make Bearcoon so sonically self-sufficient. "Being with Solange has had a very positive effect on my songwriting," Walker adds. "She has a huge vocal range and now I can write melodies with that in mind."

Walker and Igoa bring a wide assortment of influences to their self-described "front-porch Americana" sound. Andrea has a B.A. in Music from Radford University in Virginia, where she would often practice classical guitar eight hours a day. She's also a big fan of blues pickers like Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin' Hopkins. Her rock-solid strumming, varying rhythmic concepts and imaginative counter-melodies provide a perfect backdrop for lead singer Igoa, who puts her own soulful stamp on Walker's tunes.

Igoa is from Bakersfield, and she definitely brings some central valley grit to her singing. Adding to that texture is her Basque heritage and experience singing at Basque events in Bakersfield: She cites the "slightly raspy" tonal quality employed by Basque female singers as an influence. Her experience as a musical theater major at Long Beach City College helped prepare her to interpret the wide range of emotions touched upon in Walker's compositions. "I'm obsessed with Barbra Streisand!" she said with a smile when asked to name a musical hero.

The full range of Bearcoon's talent and depth can be heard on their new album's first track, "Cold Steel Of Night." Igoa sings the opening verses and choruses with a mellow and introspective tone, then abruptly shifts gears into a searing, blues-y soprano, driving home the meaning of Walker's loss-and-hope-infused lyrics.

With dozens of live shows under their belt and a new album in hand, Bearcoon is ready to evolve, discussing the possibility of touring in a camper-van. "We love Long Beach, and it's our home," says Walker, "but we want to start being present in different cities. We are both definitely 'full steam ahead' with Bearcoon." - Long Beach Post

"The Best OC Musicians By Genre"

Best Folk Act: Bearcoon

Solange Igoa and Andrea Walker first performed together one fateful open mic in Long Beach in 2012, with Walker on guitar and Igoa on vocals. The minimalist approach to their musical collaboration obviously resonated with audiences, and the two would go on to perform as Bearcoon. Walker's skillful guitar (and, at times, banjo) playing complements Igoa's soft vocals, but the rich tapestry of their music carries within layers of sadness. Some of Bearcoon's lyrics evoke feelings of loss, in part inspired by Walker's mother passing away, conveying a sound that dives deep into the human condition. The aural landscape of their folk, hillbilly and blues music hints at a world of beauty. - OC Weekly

"Bearcoon Ready to Busk Out"

Matt Munoz

The last time we checked in with Long Beach acoustic singer-songwriter duo Bearcoon, members Solange Igoa and Andrea Walker had just completed a year of audience cultivation and fine-tuning.
That was 2013.
Now with an expanded musical catalog and a growing fan base after taking home top honors at last September’s Busker Fest in Long Beach, the two are eager to bring it back to Bakersfield for a one-night stand at Dagny’s Coffeehouse on Saturday.
“We’ve been booked solid ever since Busker Fest opened so many doors for us,” said Walker, who like Igoa is enjoying their current wave of success. “I think we won by just being ourselves and playing down-home Southern folk music, without a lot of pomp and flash.”
“We are still in Long Beach, gigging like crazy, but we are planning on taking our music on the road beginning in early fall,” said Igoa, who’s originally from Bakersfield.
Walker’s guitar style and vocal drawl complement Igoa’s soulful roots on a number of originals by the group, including “Tell Me You’ll Be Mine,” “It’s Just You and Me,” “Darkest Corners,” “Cold Steel of Night” and others.
“Andrea has been writing most of the songs we perform, but I’ve recently gotten back into it, and it feels great,” said Igoa of finding the
right balance between the artistic and personal relationship the two have maintained for years onstage and off.
“Being in a band with your girlfriend takes a whole lot of communication and compromise,” Walker said. “We write and perform with a lot more confidence now. We’ve been able to home in on our own unique sound as a band.”
Currently putting the finishing touches on their full-length release “El Guapo,” paid for with some of their Busker Fest winnings, the two are giving fans a hearty helping of tunes from their vast catalog of originals, a few classic covers, plus a guilty pleasure or two.
“I have almost every Barbra Streisand album on vinyl. I’m not necessarily obsessed with all of her songs, but her voice is amazing,” said Igoa, daughter of veteran Bakersfield singer Sheri
Warfield-Wilson, who performs under the stage
name Mystic Red. “It is pretty cool that my mom is such a rock star.”
And that name? Bearcoon refers to news reports in Long Beach of
giant raccoons spotted roaming the streets of the city late at night. Not to worry; Walker and Igoa check their vehicle thoroughly for any furry stowaways.
“They keep to themselves, but if you’re out late at night, you may have a run-in with one of those 40-pound beasts,” Igoa said.
Saturday’s showtime is 4 p.m. Admission is free. Dagny’s is located at 1600 20th St. 634-0806. For more information on Bearcoon, visit - Bakersfield Californian

"Bearcoon Celebrates New Album, Upcoming Tour With Live Performance Thursday at Fingerprints"

This Thursday night at Fingerprints, local music lovers will have a chance to hear the songs Bearcoon will soon be playing nationwide. Solange Igoa and Andrea Walker, who are revving up for Bearcoon’s first-ever tour, will be presenting offerings from their newly released debut album, “El Guapo.”

“We can’t wait to hit the road,” said Walker, the guitar-playing, songwriting half of Bearcoon. “We’re ready to let go of our day jobs and make an honest go at making a full-time living from our music.”

Walker and vocalist Igoa have been diligently honing their original song repertoire and live-performance chops since 2012, when they met at an open-mic show. They gained considerable attention after winning last summer’s Long Beach Buskerfest, then invested their prize money in the early 2015 recording of “El Guapo” with producer Antoine Arvizu at his Signal Hill studio, The Compound.

“We’ve made huge strides in the last year and we feel ready, with the support of our friends and families, to venture into the challenge and uncertainty of life on the road,” said Walker. “We’re letting go of our apartment, moving into a tour van with our two dogs, and taking off to play our brand of indie folk to anyone who’ll listen.”

Thursday’s “Bearcoon In-Store Record Release Party” will begin at 7:00PM with a set by Alyssandra Nighswonger, an imaginative singer/songwriter/instrumentalist who has performed extensively in Long Beach and has shared many a concert billing with Bearcoon. Bearcoon will then take the stage, performing selections from “El Guapo,” joined by Antoine Arvizu on drums. During the show’s last two songs, Igoa and Walker will be joined by bassist Roland Cruces and vocalists Joshua Fischel, Jon Zell, Rachel Star Albright, Sean Blake, Mike Vitale, and Alyssandra Nighswonger.

For more information on Thursday’s festivities, visit Fingerprints at 420 East 4th Street or call the shop at 562.433.4996. - Long Beach Post

"IN PICTURES: Bearcoon Scores Long Beach’s 2014 Buskerfest Title"

We’ve called it the golden grail of Long Beach music and with good reason reason: Buskerfest brings out local talent in a way that no other event in the city does, by providing a space (on the back of a flatbed) to perform in front of an audience who gets to attend for free and vote for their favorites by chucking wooden nickels the band's way.

While sadly marking the end of the Summer and Music series for 2014, it was a win for Bearcoon, the self-described “Hillbilly Mountain Blues Lumberjack Rock” duo that is Solange Igoa and Andrea Walker. What makes this win particularly refreshing is that their performance was one which truly harkened to the more authentic idea of busking, where massive amounts of equipment were avoided in favor of pure acoustic awesomeness. It was catchy, captivating, tinged in Southern soul and twang, even amongst technical difficulties.

This, of course, isn’t to downsize the other competing bands.

Darryl Mapp’s back-of-the-truck blues band Classic—which gives regular performances from, well, the back of a truck—opened the festival with their unmistakeable sound that reaches back to a bygone era of blues Americana—a sound mimicked by newcomers like young artist Jessie Daniel Edwards.

This was followed by a supergroup consisting of Chris Hanlin, Johnny Jones and Ricky IV, of which Hanlin and Jones are former Long Beachers. Many expected them to take the crown, given the trio’s following as individual artists (Hanlin hails from roadhouse blues outfits The Dibs and Bourbon Jones while Jones is best known as the frontman of his band The Suffering Halos). Jones was unabashed in his blatant assertion that the band was, in his opinion, the best. Repeatedly asking the audience, “Have we won yet?” in between songs and prefacing each song with a best-song-ever-written mini-rant, the band, if anything, ultimately proved that their egos were distasteful in the eyes of nickel-throwers.

If there was a group that was to beat Bearcoon, it certainly wasn’t So Many Wizards, whose formulaic, wait-is-that-Fleet-Foxes? sound was easily lost to people texting throughout their performance. Nor was it Ghetto Blaster$, whose chances of winning had little to do with their hip-hop talent more than, well, they were an electronic hip-hop outfit amidst folders and rockers. Or even pro-skater gone jazzy guitarist/bassist/drummer/harper/xylophoner/badass Ray Barbee. Or CSULB band Thy Squid.

No, the band that came closest to taking down the crowd favorite would have to be The Moderates, whose absolutely infectious pop-rock sound garnered the largest and most grooving crowd of the event. The trio consists of youngins Josh Taylor (age 19), Wes Mathison (age 19) and Garret Huff (age 20) who, despite their youth, already have a refined talent for pumping out the kind of tunes you want to listen to over and over again.

Wooden nickels and winners aside, what is to be taken from this year’s Buskerfest is that the idea that free music, free community events, and Long Beach’s talent are things that need to continue to be offered, accessed, and uplifted. - Long Beach Post

"Six Years In, Buskerfest Gets Back to Its Roots"

East Village Arts District
Saturday, September 6, 2014

For the last five iterations of Long Beach's annual summer-ending music festival Buskerfest, the free event featuring local musicians duking it out for the most wooden nickels has strayed farther and farther from the actual acoustic busking that incited its founding.

Though the concept started as an authentic ode to musicians who provide impromptu street performances in exchange for money thrown into a hat/guitar case/etc., it only took a few years before bands started lugging big, electrified amps onto the truck-bed stages in an attempt to be heard over the growing crowds, and the massive main stage at the end of 1st Street (where non-competing headlining bands performed) to become the decidedly un-DIY focal point at the end of the night.

But something felt refreshingly different about his year's fest. The winning band was comprised of two women who make a portion of their income actually performing music on the streets. The closing act featured Josh Fishel, one of Long Beach's most outspoken advocates of free public performance and there was no main stage and headliners played on the same truck beds as the competitors. It seems that Buskerfest has driven the city's music scene to revisit the busking conversation that was launched along with the Summer and Music series six years ago.

That's not to say that the stellar lineup of nine local bands didn't also--as it has for every year since it started--paint a perfect contemporary cross-section of Long Beach's diverse music scene, buskers or otherwise. There were Americana (blues, folk and bluegrass-loving) acts like Classic, Jesse Daniel Edwards, and Hamlin Jones and Ricky IV; ethereal surf rock from So Many Wizards. We also witnessed some elevated jazzy thrash from a seven-piece version of Thy Squid; radio-ready pop-punk jams from clean-cut The Moderates; electronic hip-hip trio Ghetto Blaster$ (the closest thing to a rap act Buskerfest has booked). Then there was Ray Barbee, the incomparable skater-turned-instrumental-surf-guitar genius, who sat on a Village Grind patio chair and built loops out of his Telecaster until a layer of warm tones enveloped the crowd like a warm summer day.
Eventual winners Bearcoon, though, stole the night with an infectious stage dynamic and improvised set of Southern-inspired songs that made the most out of their stage's technical difficulties and reflected the duo's real life support for one another. Guitarist Andrea Walker and singer Solange Igoa met two years ago, started dating and then began performing together at open mic nights across Long Beach. Their musical chemistry was undeniable--Walker's freshly minted songs about sadness and loss paired perfectly with Igoa's powerful vocals. At Buskerfest, the two grinned ear to ear and bantered sweetly with the crowd, getting only a few songs in before realizing that one of the microphones was broken. "Don't worry, we can share," Walker said, and the two huddled around a single mic stand, harmonizing (and pecking each other on the cheek) to a growing crowd.

About halfway through the set, Walker put the mic stand aside and called out Igoa's talent as a busker who doesn't need any electronics to amplify her soulful voice (Igoa often plays in front of the Rite-Aid on 2nd St. in Belmont Shore). The two then crept to the edge of the stage and launched into a raucous acoustic version of Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz," with Igoa turning Joplin's gritty vocals into buttery goodness that without a microphone still carried across the East Village. At the end of the song, attendees flooded to the front and dropped nickels in their bag.
After the competing bands were finished, the headliners began, including L.A.-based indie rock band Eastern Conference Champions and perpetually lighthearted cowpunksurfabilly band The Ziggens, whose mere existence in the early '90s inspired bands like Sublime and Reel Big Fish (Skunk Records co-founder and Sublime producer Miguel Happolt played bass for the night).

2013's Buskerfest winners Fathers & Suns closed out the night with a somewhat clunky performance with RIOTstage, Long Beach's rock 'n' roll theatre company, launched by local musician (and frequent busker) Fischel. The band blended with members of RIOTStage and performed covers of hits by Van Morrison, They Might Be Giants, Pharrel and--for the finale--The Band.

While the headliners helped finish the evening with laughter, familiar songs and high-energy performances, the highlight of Buskerfest was and will always be the handful of local acts who each year compete for the most wooden nickels in an attempt to win the coveted $2500 grand prize. Whether actual buskers win or not is besides the point of the event (though Bearcoon's victory was a beautiful hark back to its roots).

All that matters is that the community continues to come out and support local music in all its multi-genre splendor, and that local musicians keep writing and playing the music that reflects this city in all its epic weirdness. - OC Weekly


Still working on that hot first release.



Bearcoon is an indie folk band made up of Solange Igoa, vocals, and Andrea Walker, guitar. The group is unsigned, unrepresented, and the girls pride themselves on their DIY attitude. After a sold-out record release show at Fingerprints Music on June 4th and a #1 spot on’s Hot New Releases list, the duo is currently touring full time on the west coast and plan to play on the east coast in fall 2015. For booking or additional information, contact Andrea & Solange at For more info, please visit Instagram: @bearcoonguapo

El Guapo was recorded with the help of a $2,500 Grand Prize which the duo won at last summer’s concert/competition, Buskerfest, an epic battle-of-the-bands which has been called “the golden grail of Long Beach music” (Long Beach Post). In January the duo teamed up with producer/engineer Anthony “Antoine” Arvizu for a labor-intensive two-day session at Arvizu’s Signal Hill recording studio, the Compound. Says Arvizu, whose deep resume includes engineering on Sublime’s 1992 debut album 40 Oz. to Freedom, ”This is one of my favorite records I’ve ever worked on, for the music and for the experience. Bearcoon is willing to be raw and honest, but they’re also willing to listen.”

Bearcoon’s songs which have been described as “pure acoustic awesomeness” and “catchy, captivating, tinged in Southern soul” (Long Beach Post) have already been receiving heavy airplay on KBeach radio shows and the Long Beach airport “Takeoff Volume I” series.

Bearcoon was forged in the fall of 2012 when singer, Solange Igoa, and guitarist, Andrea Walker, met at an open mic in Long Beach, CA. The duo’s “infectious stage dynamic” (OC Weekly) has made them one of the most sought-after bands in Long Beach and the girls have been logging up to ten shows a month including performances at the Long Beach Folk Revival Festival, Buskerfest (Winners-2014), Live After Five Official Kickoff, headlining shows at the Federal Bar, and many more.

Band Members