Narciso Martínez Conjunto Music Festival
Narciso Martínez Conjunto Music Festival, San Benito, October 21-23.
This lively celebration honors the “father of conjunto music,” Narciso Martínez, who shaped the genre by pairing the accordion with the bajo sexto (a 12-stringed bass guitar) in the 1930s. Modern conjunto has evolved as a four-instrument band: accordion, bajo sexto, electric bass, and drums.
“This event gives voice to the cultural richness of the region,” says Rogelio Nuñez of San Benito’s Narciso Martínez Cultural Arts Center, which began holding the festival 20 years ago, “but it’s also three days of continuous fun. We’ll have 15 conjunto bands from San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Alice, Kingsville, and the Rio Grande Valley. Eight of them will include female musicians, in keeping with our theme this year: Women of Conjunto Music. Traditionally, the emphasis has been on men, and we wanted to recognize the talented women in the field. Each year, we also spotlight the pioneer conjunto musicians who are still with us.”
Not all the talent is on the stage. “Conjunto music is dancing music,” says Nuñez. “And there are some pretty good dancers out there.” If you can restrain your feet, sit back and enjoy the show on the dance floor, too. Food booths also compete for your attention, offering fajitas, tacos, corn-on-the-cob, and other festival fare. Call 956/571-3325 or 956/367-0335; www.cityofsanbenito.com/comNarciso.php.