San Antonio celebrates 40 years of the Tejano Conjunto Festival
There’s a genre of music that pretty well calls San Antonio home, and San Antonio embraces it each year with a festival. That genre is Conjunto and who better to talk about it than Juan Tejeda, a retired professor of Mexican-American studies and music?
“Conjunto is that American original ensemble and style of music that we Tejanos, Texas Mexicans here, created that utilizes the button accordion that we adopted from the European settlers, and the bajo sexto Spanish, Mexican 12 string bass rhythm guitar,” Tejeda said.
Conjunto ensembles often have bass guitar and drums, too. That yearly festival is the Tejano Conjunto Festival, put on by the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. It’s primarily music and dance, but Tuesday it’s all film.
“We'll have video screenings all day and will have Hector Galan with our main documentarians and Chris Strachwitz, (who’s) going to be zooming in from California,” he said. “Then from Wednesday through Sunday of this week, we go to Rosedale Park.”
Rosedale Park is the site for the music, and a lot of it. The music and dance portion of the festival runs from Wednesday evening through Sunday night.
“Over the course of those five days out at Rosedale, Wednesday through Sunday, we're going to be presenting about 40 different Conjunto bands, the best that there is from throughout the state in the nation,” Tejeda said.
Here’s a snapshot.
“On Friday, we have Ricky Naranjo, Y Los Gamblers and the South Texas Homies. Saturday we're closing off with Boni Mauricio Y Los Maximos and Ruben de la Cruz and Ruben Garza that just formed a new band that they're really great,” he said.
Check here for full details on the schedule and tickets.
“On Sunday, we end with Jaime Deanda Y Los Furiosos. Los Hermanos Farias with Texmaniacs with of course we always bring back Flaco Jimenez.”
The music is the largest part of the festival, but Tejeda said there’s really one more element that gives it a certain spark.
“The dancing! You know, you can't separate our music from the dancing. The polkas are still one of the most popular dance forms,” he said. “The Cumbias, of course, the romantic Bolero. So there's something for everybody.”
While it’s an outdoor festival, the stage and large dance floor are covered. There are also quite a few trees on the grounds. Food and drink will be available.