National Folk Festival: Santiago Jiménez Jr
Let's continue our look at a few of the artists of the 68th National Folk Festival Oct 13-15, Richmond, Virginia
Conjunto music was born along the Rio Grande river and is a mix of the styles of music found along the border between Mexico and Texas. A truely American style, Conjunto (literally “group” in Spanish) is a lively dance music that began to develop in the late 19th century when German, Czech, and Polish immigrants introduced the button accordion into Mexican working class communities in southern Texas. By the early 1930s, the modern conjunto style emerged as a boisterous and distinctive Tex-Mex fusion that revolved around the sounds of the accordion and the bajo sexto, a 12-stringed guitar-like instrument that added a bass rhythm. Bass and drums were added later. Santiago Jiménez Sr. was one of the founders of the style. His sons, Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez and Santiago Jiménez Jr. have followed in their fahter's footsteps. In fact, the tradition goes back even further, their grandfather, Patricio Jiménez, played the accordion also.
While his brother Flaco has become one of the seminal figures in the tejano style (a crossover of conjunto, country, jazz, rock and rhythm & blues), Santiago Jiménez Jr. has kept the more tradional conjunto alive. The songs, in Spanish, are lively and direct and deal with real-life situations -- work, love and dance. But Santiago is more than just a revivalist, his songs address the current lives of the Tex-Mex community. His ballad "El Corrido de Esequiel Hernandéz" recounts the tragic death of an eighteen year old goat herder shot by US Marines, who were patrolling the Texas-Mexico border as part of the Federal government's 'war on drugs'.
In 2000 Santiago Jiménez Jr was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship Lifetime Honor from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Santiago will be appearing on the Richmond Region 2007 Stage, Saturday evening at 5:00pm. Check the 68th National Folk Festival schedule.
Buy Santiago Jiménez Jr CDs at Amazon.com.