May 12 at 6:00 pm
Historic Guadalupe Theater (1301 Guadalupe Street)
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center presents the Texas premiere production of Conjunto Blues, an interdisciplinary theatrical performance by San Antonio based poet, musician and actor, Nicolás Valdez. This unique, one-night only performance incorporates live music and character sketches with documentary footage of musicians, academics, and aficionados.
“ Conjunto music gave voice to generations who struggled to define their own unique Americanism ” ~ Nicolas Valdez
“ Nico is a creative force and an outstanding accordionist. Can’t wait to check out the production. ” ~ Juan Tejeda, Founder of Tejano Conjunto Fest
“ … an ethnographic tour de force combining candor, and humor with incredible musicianship … Conjunto Blues conveys an alternative story of American folk music that must be told.” – Marc Pinate, Producing Director at Borderlands Theater
6 PM Reception
7 PM Performance
After-Party Dance with Los Nahuatlatos and CD release
Conjunto Blues made its World Premier in April of 2013 in Denver, Colorado through the support of Su Teatro’s Executive Director, Tony Garcia and by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Performance Network. Conjunto also toured Arizona in the fall of 2015 through collaborations with Borderlands Theater, Performance in the Borderlands, the Center for Leadership and the University of Arizona culminating in a performance at the historic FOX Theater in downtown Tucson.
According to Valdez, “Conjunto music gave voice to generations who struggled to define their own unique ‘Americanism’ as the world around them often quite suddenly changed.”
About the Show:
Conjunto Blues weaves a personal narrative that beautifully captures the story of the Mexican-American working class by carrying audiences across the turbulent landscapes of the twentieth century. Following the migration of the diatonic button accordion, beginning with it’s introduction to rural communities along the US-Mexico border, Valdez’ work speaks to the social conditions that lead to the evolution of Conjunto music as an expression of cultural and resistance and liberation. Musician Robert Casillas, also a graduate of the GCAC’s Conjunto music program, will be accompanying the evening’s performance on bajo sexto (a 12-string guitar and the traditional accompaniment to Conjunto accordion). Robert Casillas will be accompanying Nicolas Valdez on bajo sexto in the production of Conjunto Blues. Robert began taking button accordion lessons with Valerio Longoria at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center when he was seven years old. He is an amazing musician and multi-instrumentalist who is equally adept at performing on mariachi as well as conjunto instruments that include the harp, button accordion, vihuela, guitar, bass, bajo sexto, drums and keyboards. Robert will graduate this May with a Bachelors of Music from Texas State University in San Marcos and has performed with various mariachis, as well as such prominent conjuntos as Kinto Rey and Joel Guzman Sarah Fox y Conjuntazzo.
“We’re very excited about presenting the Texas premiere of Conjunto Blues as part of the 35th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival,” said Juan Tejeda, Director of the Tejano Conjunto Festival for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and Professor of Mexican American Studies and Music at Palo Alto College. “Nicolas Valdez is one of our own,” Tejeda continued, “a former student and alumni of both the Conjunto and Teatro programs at the Guadalupe, Nico is a creative force and an outstanding accordionist. Can’t wait to check out the production.”
After-Party Dance with Los Nahuatlatos !
The performance will be followed by a live concert featuring LOS NAHUATLATOS.
“An authentic voice that epitomizes a shift in la onda (the scene).” Hector Saldaña, Express News
Los Nahuatlatos were featured at the 2013 International Accordion Festival and the 32nd Annual Tejano/Conjunto Festival. A synthesis of traditional Latino musical styles combined with contemporary elements of Hip-Hop, Ska, Reggae and Soul, they represent a new generation of Latino musicians exploring an ambitious new sound. They will be debuting their much-anticipated, full-length CD, Tierra Sin Fin.
About Nicolás Valdez
Valdez was a student of Conjunto legends Valerio Longoria, Santiago Jimenez Jr., and Fred Zimmerle. As a teatrísta (theater artist), he has over 20 years experience working on stage. He toured nationally with Teatro Campesino during the 25th Anniversary Tour of Zoot Suit and recently performed at the Los Angeles Theater Company’s Encuentro 2104 National Latino Theater Festival, with Su Teatro’s production of Enrique’s Journey. He is one of the creative forces behind Los Nahuatlatos where he incorporates both his musical traditions and performative talents into what he defines as “Xicano Roots Fusion.”