Conjunto: voz del pueblo, canciones del corazón

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University of Texas Press, Oct 1, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 121 pages
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"John Dyer's work is as beautiful and heartfelt as the wail of a Texas accordion."-- Sandra Cisneros"Dyer has stopped time in these photos, capturing these amazing, trailblazing conjunto musicians in intimate moments where they work, play, and live. This is a rare opportunity for us to get to know them, at least a little.... Check out how they caress their accordion, finger the bajo sexto, or delicately brandish their burning bass. Listen to the music and feel the songs that pass through your fingertips as you turn these pages."-- Juan Tejeda"On the surface, conjunto music may appear to be a simple pleasure that serves as an excuse for a people of a certain place and culture to get together and have a good time. But look deep into the eyes of the people in John Dyer's pictures. They all tell you conjunto is more than that. For them, conjunto is life."-- Joe Nick Patoski

Conjunto has been called Chicano roots music. Born when South Texas Tejanos adopted the button accordion from German settlers in the 1800s, this vibrant folk music mixes the accordion, bajo sexto guitar, bass, and drums to play lively, danceable versions of German polkas, waltzes, and schottisches, as well as Mexican corridos, boleros, rancheras, huapangos, and cumbias. A living, still evolving art form, conjunto contains the history, stories, and poems in song of Texas Mexicans even as it spreads its influence around the world and into musical genres as diverse as blues, country, rock, rap, reggae, salsa, merengue, jazz, and more.

To celebrate and honor the musicians who keep conjunto alive and growing, this book presents an album of color photographs of the most important and influential performers, aswell as the dance halls and other venues where people come to enjoy their music. John Dyer captures the dynamic spirit that animates conjunto musicians in his dramatic photographs, which are captioned with micro-biographies of the performers. Interspersed among the images are English and Spanish lyrics that exemplify the poetry and themes of conjunto music.

Introducing the photographs are personal essays by Joe Nick Patoski, who describes the origins of the music and its place in contemporary life, and Juan Tejeda, who pays tribute to the importance of conjunto and of musicians such as Valerio Longoria and Tony de la Rosa. Together, the photographs and essays clearly proclaim that conjunto is a true American roots music, as vital and significant as jazz, zydeco, and country bluegrass.

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About the author (2005)

John Dyer is an award-winning photographer whose clients include advertising agencies, graphic designers, and major editorial publications around the country, such as Texas Monthly, Esquire, Elle, Time, Newsweek, Men's Journal, Reader's Digest, Inside Sports, People, Fortune, and US magazines. His work has appeared in American Photography, PRINT, PhotoDesign and the CA Photo Annual. He currently lives in San Antonio.

Joe Nick Patoski has been writing about Willie Nelson for 35 years for a number of publications including No Depression, Texas Monthly, Rolling Stone, Country Music, TV Guide, Picking Up the Tempo, and the Austin American-Statesman. The co-author and author of biographies of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Selena and a contributor to the Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll and Conjunto, Patoski lives in the Texas Hill Country near the village of Wimberley.

JUAN TEJEDA, a leading expert on conjunto music and founder of the Tejano Conjunto Festival, is an instructor at Palo Alto College in San Antonio. He coedited Puro Conjunto: An Album in Words and Pictures.

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