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2013 Tejano Conjunto Festival Explores The Genre's Family Tree

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TCF's "New Directions" concert promises to push the conjunto envelope

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2013 Tejano Conjunto Festival

4-Day Pass $40, individual events vary
May 15-19
Guadalupe Theater, 1300 Guadalupe
Rosedale Park, 4601 W Martin
(210) 271-3151

Wed, May 15, 9:30am
Lydia Mendoza stamp launch
10am Free senior dance
Guadalupe Theater

Thu, May 16, 7pm
New Directions in Conjunto Music
$10 presale/$12 at the door
Guadalupe Theater

Fri, May 17, 5pm
Puro Conjunto Pesado: Lo mejor de Corpitos, Alice y Robe
$15 at the door
Rosedale Park

Sat, May 18, 12pm
Puro Conjunto Pesado: Hecho en Tejas
$15 at the door
Rosedale Park

Sun, May 19, 1pm
Puro Conjunto Pesado: Lo Mejor de San Anto/ Raíces y Ramas (Roots and Branches)
$15 at the door
Rosedale Park

Conjunto Workshops

Sat, May 18, $40 each, Guadalupe Theater

Accordion Tuning, Maintenance & Repair

Button Accordion & Bajo Sexto Workshop

If San Antonio is the mecca of conjunto, then the Tejano Conjunto Festival serves as the genre’s hajj — a chance to pay homage to accomplished bands and musicians, bask in the energy of fresh talent, and, mostly, shuffle to the squeezeboxes.

The TCF is oomping through its third decade of existence, and this year’s theme aims to recognize the generational transcendence of the genre with the motto Conjunto: Música, Familia, y Tradición.

“Back in the day, there were no formal institutions to teach conjunto and musical families played a very important role in passing down the conjunto folk tradition, and we are set to pay tribute to some of the First Families,” says festival director Juan Tejeda. “There’s going to be some very special reunions this year.” Examples include a revival of the Serrata brothers, and a set by the Johnson brothers of Chalito Johnson y Los Paisanos, who will not only reunite for a night, but will be joined by a next-generation musical family member, Ariel Johnson.

But on Thursday, “New Directions in Conjunto Music” showcases younger musicians pushing the conjunto envelope. East L.A. sensation Los Fabulocos headline the experimentalist night, but local prodigy and Esteban “Steve” Jordan protégé Juanito Castillo could steal the show. (Full disclosure: the Current’s music and film editor Enrique Lopetegui is currently working on a documentary film about Castillo.)

“I’m taking old traditional accordion standards and reworking them into different time signatures, so it’s going to be something different, something weird,” says Castillo, who formed Juanito Castillo and the Psycho Trip Band specifically for this gig. “It’s a 45-minute set and I’ll be joined by some surprise friends. For those 45 minutes you’re going to transport to outer space.”

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