Future Face of Tejano

By Hector Saldaña San Antonio Express-News

Tejano and conjunto promoters and fans revere the genre’s elders. A great example is Robert Herzik’s poster for the 30th annual Tejano Conjunto Festival that featured Al Rendon‘s photo of the late Narciso Martinez. But festival producer Juan Tejeda and sponsors such as Gilberto Reyes Jr. at Hohner would be the first to say that’s only half the story.

“We have reverence for the maestros,” said Reyes. “But you also have to look at the next generation that’s going to be pushing the music forward.”

Austin-based AJ Castillo, 24, is one such highly touted young performer.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/article/Future-face-of-Tejano-1383830.php#ixzz1N0uJ2X2D

One Comment on “Future Face of Tejano”

  1. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of AJ. His style is just not my cup of tea.

    In an article with the Austin American-Statesman last year, he seemed more than a little arrogant about his brand of Tejano being the Austin sound and the way forward for the music in general. http://www.austin360.com/music/a-j-castillo-crafts-a-new-austin-sound-841242.html. He also didn’t sound too appreciative of those who came before him (aside from his idol, Steve Jordan).

    But from the article you posted here, it sounds like he’s matured a bit, which is good.

    He’s probably right, that a new urbanized sound borrowing heavily from hip-hop will appeal to a younger audience. But if part of his motivation in becoming an artist is to move Tejano forward with a new sound, that should be what gets them in the door, so to speak. Once they’re in, then you expose them to everyone else.

    To cultivate a new, passionate and sustainable audience of younger listeners that were initially attracted to his brand, he has the responsibility to educate them about other artists and the history of the music: the Conjunto trailblazers and the Tejano legends. For example, when they know how Steve Jordan influenced him, they will buy Jordan’s music and that of other performers who were influenced similarly. Otherwise, it’s just about him and his non-traditional take on the music, and the people he brought in will only like him.

    He’s not the only game in town either, when it comes to the future face of the music. There are more than a few young exciting Conjuntos who draw large crowds while playing the most traditional of music.

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