Accordion Dreams Timeline


Late 19th Century
German immigrants came to Texas around the mid-1800's and settled in Central Texas in towns like Fredericksburg, Gruene, and New Braunfels -- better known as the German belt.
Mexican American communities were excited by the sound of their music and lively dance styles.
Around 1890, they had also moved further south into South Texas and Northern Mexico to work the fields and the construction of railroad lines and brought with them the button accordion to play their waltzes and polkas.
1920s/1930s
Major labels like Bluebird and Columbia had become quite powerful by the 1920s.  They had started producing records from the African-American market, the so-called race records of the early 20s -- which were a very profitable venture.
Known as the father of conjunto music and 'El Huracan del Valle' for his fast-paced accordion playing, Narciso Martinez redefined the role of the accordion in the 1930s.  With musical partner Santiago Almeida handling the accompaniment....
1940s
The popularity of a new style of music challenged accordion-based conjunto -- the era of the Big Band had entered America and Mexican American bands wqanted to look and sound more American.
Mexican Americans go to war, and for the first time, as equals.
Master accordionist Valerio Longoria is credited with intoducing lyrics to conjunto music and slowing down the beat -- introducing the romantic boleros.
Armando Marroquin became the first Mexican American to produce a conjunto record in the U.S. -- founded IDEAL Record Company and an industry was born.
Falcon Records was formed by Arnaldo Ramirez about the same time and would later become a major [player in conjunto music.
With the success of a syndicated show called Fanfarria Falcon, competition heated up and more conjunto television programs were in demand.
Other inedpendent labels popped up including Bernal, Mira, Sombrero, and Norteno.
1950s
Rock & roll bursts on the scene and a whole generation of Mexican Americans embraced it.
By experimenting with ways to reach a larger audience, tony De La Rosa created a new dance sound that became distincely Texas-Mexican.  Adding drums and electric bass, he slowed the rythm down and made it very easy to dance to.
following in Tony De La Rosa's tradition, Ruben Vela popularized an irresistible dance beat with his arrangements of the Mexican song tradidion called ranchera.
Isidro Lopez came to represent success, and the aspiration of the working class Tejano.
Young Tejano musicians began experimenting with rock & roll including Little Joe and the Latinaires and Sunny Ozuna.
Ushering in a new era, Paulino Bernal and his brother, Eloy, stunned audiences with a style of accordion music never heard before.  Paulino would become one of the most influential conjunto musicians in history.
During the 1950's, America's middle-class began to grow, especially within the Mexican American communities, who demeanded equal treatment.
1960s
Mexican Americans entered a new era of cultural awareness as the Chicano movement took hold.
Little Joe changes the name of his band to La Familia to reflect this new identity with their roots.
1970s
Roberto Pulido y Los Classicos began combining a brass sound with the accordion with his performance style and tennor voice catching audiences by surprise.
1980s
Little Joe proved to Columbia Records that there was money to be made in the Tejano market.
With a new style -- a new look -- and a new way of playing the accordion -- Jamie de Anda and his band, Los Chamacos, set the standard for a new generation of conjunto musicians.  Using a rock beat at the beginning of a ranchera, that they started ...
1990s
A growing trend among young conjunto musicians is the influx of females into this almost all male genre.
With Eva Ybarra as a role model, Cecilia Saenz and Victoria Galvan are breaking the mold with great success
Albert Zamora bursts onto the nightclub scene infusing a hard -edged style to conjunto
Flaco Jimenez has created a unique Tex-Mex accordion sound that cuts through all genres.  Adding the influences of country, rock, blues and cajun zydeco, he appeals to a much larger audience.  Flaco is probably the best known conjunto artists in the worl
Jesse Turner mixes rap and heavy metal funk into
Master accordionist Juan Lopez celebrates his 75th birthday and is one of the last links to a bygone era.  He helped define a unique musical tradition that still exists today.
Mingo Saldivar continues to travel weekly with his band playing conjunto bringing dance halls to life.

Copyright 2001 Galan Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

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picture of Mingo Saldivar