LOS FRESNOS — For three decades, Max Baca has taken conjunto music to new heights, his driving sound driving the genre while preserving the roots of a tradition born along the Texas border nearly 100 years ago.

Next weekend, from Friday to Sunday, Baca and his band Los Texmaniacs will headline the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center‘s 29th Annual Conjunto Festival, a three-day event featuring 16 bands gearing up to transform the Los Fresnos Memorial Park into one of the hottest dance floors in the area. .

“I’m very honored to perform at the festival because it’s one of the last legitimate conjunto festivals and it’s very important because it’s in the valley, where the music started,” Baca said. . “Conjunto music is very important to our heritage and our culture because, in a sense, we lose touch with where we come from.”

29TH ANNUAL CONJUNTO FESTIVAL

In 1992, Rogelio Nunez co-founded the Conjunto Festival, showcasing the genre’s seminal bands while leaving his mark on the Smithsonian Institution.

“The most important part of the festival is that we stay true to the roots of original music brought forth by Narciso Martinez,” he said, referring to the master accordionist from La Paloma who pioneered the music in the cantinas of San Benito. “Music is passed down from generation to generation. This reinforces the importance of an American genre that is not going away.

MAX BACA AND THE TEXMANIACS

One of conjunto music’s greatest acts, the San Antonio Texmaniacs’ eclectic style electrified the genre at gigs across the country.

Growing up in Albuquerque, NM, Baca’s father instilled his love for the musical form, his talents making him one of the master bajo sexto de conjunto players.

“My dad introduced me, and that introduced me to Flaco Jimenez – and that opened up a different Pandora’s box,” Baca said, referring to the music legend accordionist. “That’s the style that I have _ the cheerfulthe happy sound.

In 1997 Baca founded the Texmaniacs, the Grammy-winning band now featuring his nephew Josh Baca on accordion.

“He’s one of the best accordionists in this type of music,” he says.

Max Baca and Los Texmaniacs headline the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center’s 29th Anniversary Conjunto Festival, with 16 bands Friday through Sunday at Los Fresnos Memorial Park. (Courtesy picture)

VALLEY ROOTS

Over the weekend, Baca plans to celebrate the 10th anniversary of bassist Noel Hernandez’s introduction to the band.

For 30 years, Hernandez stood at the forefront of music, playing with conjunto legends like Ruben Vela and Gilberto Perez while working with bands like Elida y Avante and Los Frijoles Romanticos.

In his hometown of La Villa, Hernandez honed the skills that help root the band in the tradition of the genre.

“Being from La Villa, he brings a certain style to our group – he has that edge, that South Texas feel,” Baca said. “I call him the backbone of the band. He exposes the heartbeat. He’s a natural. With Noel, we sound different than any conjunto.

While playing the drums, Chris Rivera became a top vocalist.

“He’s one of the few drummers with a great voice,” Baca said. “We have very, very seasoned musicians that add to the caliber of the band.”

‘LARGE DANCE FLOOR’

The festival opens on Friday, with a full day of music on Saturday before Baca and his band take the stage on Sunday.

“That’s the base,” Nunez said. “We still have three days of conjunto music. It’s conjunto after conjunto after conjunto. We bring in all these bands that have been playing music for 20, 30, 40 years – people who are presenting music across Texas.

Each year, the festival transforms Los Fresnos Memorial Park into a roaring dance floor.

“It’s a lot of dancing – people come to the festival like a dance,” Nunez said. “People are looking for this kind of festival. It’s a big dance floor. Dancing is a very important part of conjunto music and connecting with music. It’s driving noise – polkas, huapangos, schotis. The accordion penetrates your skin and your soul.

CONTEXT

In 1991, Nunez co-founded the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center, dedicated during the celebration of Martinez’s 80th birthday – shortly before his death.

From its opening in San Benito at Memorial Park in Los Fresnos, the center has become a showcase for Mexican-American arts.

“The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center preserves, promotes and develops the rich cultural heritage of the Mexican community through visual arts, music, theater, dance and literature programs,” organizers said in a statement. Press.

In 1999, the Smithsonian Institution praised the central Conjunto festival with a CD titled “Taquachito Nights”, featuring recordings by several conjunto pioneers who played the previous year’s shows.

Tickers are $10 for a one-day pass and $25 for three days.


Festival program

Friday

Ole Trevino and Su Conjunto

Conjunto Imprezzion

Azido Group

Isaac De Los Santos and Sangre Chicana

Morales Brothers

Saturday

Los Fresnos CISD Conjunto Halcon &

Los Fresnos Elementary Conjunto

Los D Boys

Conjunto Cats

AX Very

Epi Martinez and his friends

Flavio Longoria & Conjunto Kings

Tejano Boys

Sunday

Riley and Los Gilitos

Cindy Ramos and Su Conjunto

Gilberto Perez, Jr. and Su Conjunto

La Naturaleza

Max Baca and Los Texmaniacs