Blend of tradition, innovation is key

For 23-year-old accordionist Juanito Castillo, traditional conjunto is not even close to being the only type of music he wants to play.

“I like to keep a modern, hip vibe,” says the multi-instrumentalist widely regarded as Esteban “Steve” Jordan’s heir. Castillo will perform Saturday, May 19, at the 31st annual Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio.

Presented by the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, the festival showcases conjunto musicians from across the country. This year’s festival, which kicked off May 15, culminates with a three-day series of shows at Rosedale Park.

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La Santa Cecilia returns to their home away from home

“The band LOVES San Antonio,” writes Grammy-winning producer Sebastian Krys about La Santa Cecilia, the first band he signed for his label Rebeleon Entertainment. “It was the first city outside Los Angeles that they felt they really connected with fans, so it has a special place for them.”

Read more here – Music – San Antonio Current.

Los Aguilares: A bittersweet night of puro conjunto

It has been two years since the death of accordionist and co-founder Emilio Aguilar from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 70.

“It’s important to continue my dad’s legacy,” said Miguel Aguilar, who plays keyboards. “And of course, my uncle (Genaro) still has his voice. He’s still active, and he wants to continue so we’re going to respect that … continuing is what my dad would really, really have wanted us to do.”

Emilio Aguilar was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when he was 55. But even at the end of his life, when he couldn’t recognize his button accordion “and didn’t know what to do with it,” he could still keep time.

“He never lost his beat. My mom would tune in the Radio Jalapeño station (KEDA-AM), and he would always stomp his foot. He would just smile,” Miguel recalled. “That’s a good memory.”

Los Aguilares’ life story is right out of a movie.

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A bittersweet night of puro conjunto – San Antonio Express-News.

Roberto Pulido true to his roots

Legendary singer-songwriter Roberto Pulido describes his famous norteño, Tejano and rock ‘n’ roll sound as “like a guacamole.”

“It’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that,” said Pulido from his Edinburg office.

The fruits ‘n’ vegetables metaphor is fitting.

As a child of migrant farm workers, he grew up listening to conjunto and norteño as well as the music of Little Joe & the Latinaires and Sunny & the Sunliners while working in the fields.

Read more in the Express New:   

The International Accordion Festival’s battle against shrinking funds and ignorant lawmakers

Here is an interesting article about the international accordion festival coming to San Antonio – San Antonio Current.

Texas Gets The Accordion Bug And Never Looks Back

It’s a well-known story — the one where European conquerors ravaged the New World with disease in the 15th century. That story repeated itself, in a very different way, in the early part of the 20th century in Texas.

Only it wasn’t illness that German and Czech settlers were spreading to unsuspecting Hispanics, Creoles and Cajuns. This time, it was a musical instrument from which they would not recover.

It started in the dance halls in the Texas hill country. While German and Czech farmers danced the polka on Saturday nights, their Hispanic farmhands would gather nearby to watch and listen.

It was a mistake. Because they had no immunity, the button accordion began to spread through these Hispanic communities like wildfire.

Read the entire article here: Texas Gets The Accordion Bug And Never Looks Back : NPR.

SLIDESHOW: Conjunto music plays into S.A.’s past, future

Listen to the sounds made by local Conjunto musicians that play in formal and informal venues wherever anyone will listen. What you will discover is the joined strains of the traditional Mexican Bajo sexton, a 12-string bass guitar, and the button accordion – brought to Texas by early German settlers- that makes up this lively genre of ethnic folk music most often associated with Tejano migrant workers.

Images from the Conjunto Heritage Taller!  Check out this slide show!

Click here for the slideshow | San Antonio.