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Music

Flaco Jiménez: Will the 'King of Conjunto' finally play with his brother Santiago Jiménez Jr.?

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

The face of conjunto: Flaco Jiménez and a night to remember.



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The 31st annual TCF has attractions for all tastes: the young, the old, and the fusion-minded. But none of those attractions shine more than the potential for three, five, 10, 15 minutes, or whatever Flaco Jiménez and his brother Santiago Jiménez Jr. could give us.

The brothers, children of Santiago Jiménez Sr. and two of the greatest living legends of conjunto in their own right, haven't recorded together since 1960, and haven't played together since 1982, when they shared the stage with their father at the very first Tejano Conjunto Festival in 1982. While Santiago is ready for the gig, Flaco was surprised when I asked him about it.

"They have sort of a long duel, an estrangement of sorts," said festival director Juan Tejeda. "Santiago is willing to do it, but I spoke mainly to Flaco's son about doing a polkita or two in tribute to their father. That's the plan, and we all hope it happens."

But even if they don't perform together (and I think and hope they will), both Flaco and Santiago will play at least with their respective conjuntos on the same night.

Last week, and after yet another tour with the Texas Tornados, Flaco Jiménez spoke to the Current in Spanish from his home in San Antonio.

You're a man that needs no invitation to the TCF. It is your home.

Yes, I've played there for many years, practically since it started. And I'm glad people have responded and attended the festival throughout the years. They give groups a lot of love and have fun because there's a variety of styles. In my personal case, I like it when young musicians want to see me play and I like to see them progress and perform themselves. It is an honor for me to play with both the young kids and the old-timers. For people like me, the festival is a meeting among friends.

You just got back from yet another tour with the Texas Tornados. How do you keep up?

Yes, Arlington, Lafayette, New Orleans, and Houston. We just got back. Music has been my life, always. I'm not a millionaire or anything, but I've survived and need to keep working. It's my job. And the support and love of the people make me want to keep on playing. I owe everything to them. I'm nothing without them. I will continue for as long as my body resists.

Will you ever stop recording?

I've released the latest one about three months ago, I think they named it Flaco Jiménez con sus amigos, or something like that [the album was released in 2011]. The plan was to make it the last of my career. I'm not that young anymore. I'll still record if somebody invites me to collaborate on their albums. Fortunately, a lot of people still call me to record, even American country artists. I can't just stop recording altogether, but I don't see myself recording another album on my own. It's time for the new generation, and I love to see 15-year-olds playing like professionals.

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