Conjunto music enjoys a resurgence, bridging a divide between old and new musicians

Conjunto music, a century-old genre combining Mexican, European, and American song styles, is seeing a resurgence, particularly among a new generation of musicians in Texas.

Driving the resurgence: At least a dozen schools in the Texas Valley and as far north as San Antonio now offer Conjunto music as part of their fine arts program.
* The Los Fresnos High School’s Conjunto program started with 13 students a decade ago and had 100 students last semester.
* Founded by program director Juan Longoria Jr., it emphasizes traditional conjunto, Norteño, and Tejano music along with modern influences.

Impact on students: Many students express a strong connection to Conjunto music as it allows them to explore and express their ethnicity.
* Student Iliana Aguilar sees conjunto as a vibrant mix of various styles including huapangos, cumbias, and polkas, and views playing it as a way of participating in her culture.

Success beyond the schools: Several high school Conjunto programs in the Valley are producing successful musicians.
* The recent grand champion of the statewide 2023 Big Squeeze Contest, 20-year-old Eligio Martinez, started in the varsity conjunto band at Los Fresnos High School.

Cultural significance and the future: The town of San Benito – which calls itself the birthplace of Conjunto – recently opened the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum as a celebration of the music.
* There’s a growing recognition that this genre is not “museum music,” but is seeing a rise in popularity, heard on the radio and at local events like weddings and quinceañeras, signaling its continuing relevance and appeal.

View original article on NPR

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