Photo courtesy of Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame & Museum Facebook

Conjunto Is Not Dead

Words by Abigail Vela

When we think of the Rio Grande Valley, we think of cultura. We imagine the silhouettes of mesquite and palm trees as our blazing sunsets make a scene, dancing to reggaeton in the hot summers, tlacuaches making their guest appearance downtown, taquerias on every corner, and, of course, the songs of the past blasting through the streets from lowriders y camionetas louder than the speakers can handle. Songs such as Flaco Jimenez’s “Viva Seguin,” “Asi Se Baila En Tejas” by Tony De La Rosa, and “Morena Morenita” by Los Dos Gilbertos give us waves of nostalgia from the days when our grandparents cruised down the very same streets we do. This music was born here. And Conjunto is still very much alive. 

 

Narciso Martínez is known as the “father” of the poor-working-class music genre from South Texas— conjunto. Conjunto brought local communities together to dance in the 1920s at weddings, quincieñeras, and public dances, known as bailes. You can distinguish conjunto music by the famous sound of the accordion, the way the beat of the bajo sexto make you sway, the belting gritos, and the stories told through the singer’s voice. 


San Benito, Texas, is known as the birthplace of Conjunto. It is where, in 2001, the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum was founded, honoring the legacy and history of conjunto music and the musicians who played a pivotal role in its creation, such as Narciso Martínez, Pedro Ayala, Ricardo Guzmán, Enrique Vela, Mario Montes, Gilberto Pérez, and many more.

Photo courtesy of Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum Facebook

This Saturday, February 18th, the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum will celebrate its ribbon cutting and grand re-opening at The Historic Aztec Building. The Aztec Building was built in the 1930s as a hotel and restaurant featuring a dancing venue on the third floor overlooking the resaca. Since then, the building has undergone different transformations after the city bought it out. It is now fate that the historical building will now house a piece of musical history itself.

 

The new Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum is one block away from the famed La Villita Dance Hall. Their grand opening event will take place from 3 PM until 7 PM and feature artists like CHR Records recording artist Hilda Lamas.

Photo courtesy of Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum Facebook

The Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum will continue to uplift the musical talents of legends from past, present, and future generations. Their mission is to continue promoting, preserving, archiving, documenting, and permanently displaying their 20-plus years’ worth collection of historical artifacts from The Rio Grande Music Company and the history of 70 inductees.


Check out the event here.

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