Los Padrinos – 20 minute Conjunto lesson

From our performance at Luminarias (A San Antonio Arts Festival)

About Conjunto by Ramiro Burr

Very cool comments from Ramiro…

Many consider the folksy conjunto secondary to the more popular Tejano.

Those who do are missing out on a real treasure. While conjunto does not have the flash and pop of Tejano, it does work its own beautiful magic.

Top artists like Conjunto Bernal, the late Tony De La Rosa, Mingo Saldivar, Los Dos Gs and others know how to create sparks with the basic accordion and bajo sexto, bottom-heavy rhythms, direct lyrics and a heavy dose of blues power.

At its most primal, raw conjunto is driven by intense, almost tribalistic percussions and fat bass lines.
Like blues and reggae, the sheer repetition of these bottom heavy rhythms tend to entrance and hypnotize.
Fans are also captivated by the lyrics, sung with honesty, pain and conviction.

And yet despite the often sad lyrics, ironically conjunto music is often described as “happy dance music.”

Why?

Because even if you don’t know the lyrics, the dance beats are irresistible and always compel folks to the dance floor.

For those who do sing along, they relive the moments when life is intense — that first love, that terrible breakup, the pain and solitude, hopes and dreams.

Those are the unforgettable moments that make up a lifetime. Even if we lost in love, ultimately we’re happy we had an opportunity. Often we walk away a better person. And with the distance of time, that special song helps us relive that moment.

The catharsis helps us find healing and hope.

Yeah, there might be tears and old wounds may resurface. But undoubtedly, there all be also a varying sense of tension and release, redemption and absolution, clarity and understanding.

Timeless nuggets include “Mi Unico Camino,” “Preso sin delito,” “El Silencio de La Noche,” and many others.
In Mexico, there’s an old saying, “la music es la vida, y el recordar es vivir (music is life and to remember, is to live again).” It often is used to describe fiery rancheras but it also applies to conjunto.

New Conjunto Podcast Site!

I am really having alot of fun with this podcast thing, I am glad that all 7 of you are enjoying my podcast (actually 6 not counting me).  It is a lot of work because I have to do it in my living room as I am able.  But it is fun nonetheless. You can download or suscribe through Yahoo and iTunes!  Click here for the new site where the Conjunto is Life podcasts will be published: www.conjunto.mypodcast.com

You can also click on the right hand side of this page where it says “CONJUNTO PODCAST”.

Let me know what you think!

Podcast #2 Valerio, Ruben, y Santiago

Accordion Dreams

Puro Chicano Art and Conjunto Music Links

Here are some links that you might want to pass along or share with others!

  • Gallista Gallery 
    Chicano Art Gallery studio of Joe L. Lopez here in San Antonio Tx.
  • San Antonio Murals The San Anto Cultural Arts Center has tried to restore and maintain the tradition of painting murals in our local community.
  • Say Sí
    SAY Sí, in San Antonio, is a year round, long-term, non-profit multidisciplinary arts program that provides students opportunities to develop artistic and social skills in preparation for higher educational advancement and professional careers. SAY Sí’s MAS [Media Arts Studio], is a creative multi-media environment where students can develop their artistic voices through the use of innovative and empowering communications and media technology.
  • Los Angeles: Painted City 
    Murals in Los Angeles CA
  • ChicanoArt.org 
    An Educational Forum Furthering the Conversation Regarding Mesoamerican Roots and Contemporary Chicano Aesthetic Vision
  • Corridos Sin Fronteras 
    Learn about Corridos from the Smithsonian. Tambien en español.
  • Accordion Dreams from PBS 
    Everything you wanted to know about Conjunto music can be found on this website – based on a documentary by Hector Galan. Also, here is a good article by foremost Conjunto expert Manuel Peña.
  • Soul to Squeeze 
    About the accordion and Conjunto music
  • Border Cultures: Conjunto Music 
    The music of the Mexico/United States border region is one of the most vibrant expressions of this unique culture. The links on this page provide starting points for learning about the conjunto musical style, its history, cultural significance, and artistry. From the Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Dueling Accordions 
    How the Texas-bred music made famous by Selena is losing the tug-of-war with Mexico. Austin American-Statesman, 2006
  •  

    Cerca del Mar

    Los Padrinos at Conjunto Express Party House grand opening. Fernando Raya sitting in on bass guitar