Los Texmaniacs, the Texas-Mexican conjunto band armed “with an assortment of Tex-Mex beats infectious enough to get even the most sedentary crowd moving” (Washington Post), were just nominated for a Grammy award in the Best Tejano Album category for their album ‘Borders y Bailes,’ out on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Los Texmaniacs is made up of bajo sexto player and group founder Max Baca, Oscar García on bass, accordionist David Farias, and drummer Lorenzo Martínez. This is the 15th nomination for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in the last six years, and the first in the Best Tejano Album category.
“I can’t believe it,” band leader Baca said after learning about the nomination. “It’s a special CD because of the Smithsonian. It includes my history and my father’s musical history. And I’m with great company.”
‘Borders y Bailes’ represents both the original conjunto music established in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and the modern version with subtle rock-and-roll and country influences. Characterized by the grassroots dancehall performances, or funciones, popular throughout the border region during the first half of the 20th century, traditional conjunto is mainly comprised of accordion, the distinct sound of the bajo sexto, bass, and drumset. The bajo sexto is an extraordinary instrument with six double courses of steel strings spanning a wide, thick neck and a solidly crafted, full body shaped in the fashion of a six-stringed guitar, but bigger. By the late forties, the conjunto sound began to spread and evolve. The electric bass, drums and larger accordions were adopted, increasing the overall volume of the music and allowing for more complex harmonies.
Check out the band playing a live version of ‘Borders y Bailes’ standout “Marina” here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK0IEv_yp9c
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