Santiago Jimenez

Santiago Jimenez
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One of the major figures in Tex-Mex border music, Santiago Jimenez Jr. is a singer and accordian virtuoso of the first rank. His father virtually invented the conjunto instrumental style, and Santiago's playing follows in that tradition while at the same time incorporating much of the more modern approach made popular by his brother Flaco. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has honored Santiago Jimenez Jr. with two Grammy nominations. Born April 81944, Santiago is the younger son of Don Santiago Jimenez Sr., one of the great pioneers of conjunto accordion style. Where his elder brother Leonardo "Flaco" Jimenez has helped modernize conjunto by bringing in jazz, rock and rhythm & blues concepts, Santiago has purposely fashioned his own playing after his father's. He has dedicated himself to upholding the tradition his father helped develop via Spanish-language radio spots and recordings that date back to the late 1930's. Some of Santiago Jr.'s first recordings were on local labels -- Lira, Magda, Discos Grande, Corona -- and were sold on 45 rpms. In 1960, at age 17, he recorded a full-length album with Flaco. Recent recordings, including Corazon de Piedra, Canciones de Mi Padre and Music del Tiempos.., have appeared on Watermelon Records, based in Austin. The songs, in Spanish, are lively and direct and deal with real-life situations -- work, love and dance. More than a revivalist, Santiago Jimenez Jr. is a living memory of a time when the Mexican-American people of South Texas were making their presence known amid social oppression, forced assimilation and economic difficulty. The music represents the experience of a people and is celebrated for having helped shape a society that remains strong in its identity and cultural presence.
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