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Conjunto, Tejano Music Thrive In San Antonio

Ramiro Andrade. Courtesy Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.

Tejano and conjunto are the soundtrack of San Antonio. Songs in these genres tell stories of every day life and a rich cultural history in South Texas. 

The Spanish word "conjunto" is definitive musical style, but can also refer to the group of performers. (For example: Eva Ybarra y Su Conjunto.)

Well known for a jamming accordion and the strings of a bajo sexto, conjunto music also typically includes bass, drums and vocals. 

Drawing from popular dances from the era – cumbias and European influences like the polka – the genre emerged in the late 1800s from the cantinas and backyards of South Texas.

Conjunto started a modern renaissance in the 1920s, which influenced what we know now as Tejano music with more instrumentation and modern influences. 

Today's San Antonio musicians often blend traditional conjunto and Tejano with other genres, including punk and hip hop. 

What do these styles of music mean to the cultural backdrop of San Antonio? What lasting impact does conjunto have on Tejano and South Texas culture? 

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is hosting the annual Tejano Conjunto Festival from May 16 to 20, 2018. Click here for more information. 


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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.
Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.