conjunto | Texas Public Radio


Tom Pich

In the late 1940s, a proud father put a small accordion into the hands of his determined 4-year-old daughter. Little Eva Ybarra doggedly persevered against the naysayers, who told her a female accordionist would never make it — and she rose to conjunto royalty. Now, she’s considered the “queen of the accordion.”

Vic Gonzalez

"Conjunto music is the authentic folkloric music of South Texas," says Christina Balli. She is the executive director of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, which hosts the Conjunto Festival starting Wednesday.

A major music festival is taking place in San Antonio this week -- It’s the Tejano Conjunto Festival.

Juan Tejeda is a Palo Alto College professor who also directs the festival. As to what makes music conjunto, he says it started with the accordion brought to Texas by Europeans.


"Music has no ethnicity. Music comes from the heart."

Music brings people together no matter where you are in the world, says 75-year-old Rodolfo Lopez, the director of Conjunto Heritage Taller. When the StoryCorps Mobile Booth was in town earlier this year, the organization's managing director, Yadhira Lozano, asked him about spreading the love of conjunto music far and wide.

"Everywhere you go, people are people," Lopez says. And the music transcends cultural identity. 

Guadalupe "Lupito" Acuña

[Editor's note: this would be a good piece to hear rather than just read. Hit "Listen" above to hear it] 

As the sun sets on a Southtown Friday night, A train lumbers loudly by the packed Gallista Gallery.  Tonight, the art isn’t just on the walls. It fills the room with a blend of rhythms drawn from Eastern Europe and South Texas. It's the result of human migration and the musical traditions that came with it. A musical mashup borne of South Texas History. 

Dianna Douglas / KERA

  — Texas’ Hispanic and black students are rocking the national charts when it comes to high school graduation rates. Fronteras takes a look at the reasons and whether students are also better prepared for college and career.

— In Dallas minority students excel on Advanced Placement tests for colleges.  We take a look at why that’s happening.

—Sen. Ted Cruz, the first official presidential candidate for the 2016 elections, may speak at Texas A&M International’s graduation ceremony in Laredo.  Could he be trying to make inroads with Hispanic voters?

A casual listener would be forgiven for not knowing one kind of accordion music from another. But where two cultures in particular are concerned, the similarity comes with a century-old backstory involving immigration and imitation.

Flaco Jiménez And The Legacy Of Conjunto

Feb 20, 2014