Special to the Parade
The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center will host the 20th Annual Conjunto Festival Friday-Sunday, Oct. 21-23.
This three-day event is a one of a kind event in the country attracting over 3,500 people for a celebration of live Texas Mexican conjunto music.
The 20th Annual Conjunto Festival will honor the women of conjunto and will feature seven conjuntos where women play an integral role. They include Mickey Mendoza of Mickey y Los Carnales from Houston, Texas. Eva Ybarra, the best accordionist in Conjunto music from San Antonio. Linda Escobar, daughter of pioneering musician Eligio Escobar and the lead singer of Linda Escobar y Su Conjunto from Alice.
Susan Torres y Conjunto Clemencia from Austin will feature Clemencia Zapata on drums and Susan Torres on accordion. Clemencia Zapata is also the drummer for Conjunto Atzlan from San Antonio/Austin. Featured also are veteran conjunto musicians Chano Cadena y Su Conjunto featuring Ruby Franco from Alice and Eddie “Lalo” Torres featuring Anita Paiz from San Antonio.
The festival cannot move on without the Rio Grande Valley pioneering musicians Ramiro Cavazos of Los Doneños and Gilberto Perez y Sus Compadres. Lazaro Perez y Su Conjunto will accent the festival with the conjunto style of Kingsville, Texas. Finally, and to add to the festival are Valley favorites Juan Lugo y Su Conjunto from Laureles, with Melissa Guerra and Los Angeles Del Sur from La Feria as well as the San Benito High School Conjunto Estrella and Palmview High School Conjunto Tradición.
The festival will also be dedicated to fallen conjunto pioneers. Passing away in 2011 were Cha Cha Jimenez, Benny Layton, Joe Ramos, Ramiro “Snowball” de la Cruz, and Javier Villanueva, founding member of Tejano ROOTS Hall of Fame and Museum in Alice, TX.
Editor’s Note: The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center preserves, promotes and develops the rich cultural heritage of the “Mexicano” community through programs in the visual arts, music, theater, dance and literature.