with Conjunto Los Pinkys
Antone’s Nightclub, August 23
by Holly Cowart
Photograph by Arnold Wells
Emerging at the end of the 19th century, conjunto music was born from a cultural fusion between northern Mexico, southern Texas and the German immigrants who introduced the areas to polka and the accordion. The result was swiftly adopted by the working class and often played during festive occasions, featuring exuberant melodies joined by soaring, dramatic harmonies.
There’s no musician in the world more synonymous with conjunto tejano than Flaco Jiménez. A living, breathing legend, the master accordion player is an invaluable representation of our state’s rich and diverse musical history. Jiménez, who celebrated his 80th birthday this past March, first took the stage at the age of 7 and had formed his first band by 15. He learned to play the square-shaped instrument by observing his father, Don Santiago Jiménez Sr., who was himself a trailblazing accordionist. From there, Jiménez went on to become a household name, known for collaborating with notable artists and mixing classic Tejano sounds with different contemporary genres. Achieving an abundance of accolades over his lengthy career, including five Grammy Awards and induction into the National Hispanic Hall of Fame, the San Antonio native continues to give the regional style an international spotlight.
To see Flaco Jiménez perform is to watch an expert instrumentalist execute a genre he’s helped perfect and there’s no better stage than Austin’s own home of the blues. All hail the accordion king.