a spiritual and musical journey expressed through poetry and song. The
Conjunto was born of the Xicano Movement in Austin, Texas, in 1977. Through
the last decades, it has gone through several periods of activity and various
configurations but it has remained alive and steadfast in its purpose:
to celebrate, defend, and expand the musical, cultural, and spiritual legacy
of the Chicano people.
Through the years, the group has attracted a large number of talented musicians and songwriters who have performed with the conjunto in places as diverse as a Brown Beret political rally in Austin and a gathering of East Coast Chicano law students at Harvard. The repertoire and instrumentation have varied, but certian element have remained constant: the Tejano button accordion, two- and three-part harmonies, and original songs with politically, culturally, and socially conscious lyrics in English and Spanish.
Currently, Aztlan is in many respects a traditional conjunto, utilizing typical conjunto instrumentation (button accordion, bajo sexto, bass and drums) and playing typical conjunto music (polkas, valses, cumbias, boleros, canciones rancheras). It is also non-traditional; many of the song lyrics differ in theme from those of the usual conjunto, and their repetoire includes indigenous rhythms, salsa, oldies, rockabilly and reggae-cajun-zydeco. Conjunto Aztlan continues to deliver música del movimiento chicano, as well as the more traditional compositions La Raza has grown to expect.
This first Conjunto Aztlan CD, an homage to the movimiento chicano, has been a long time in the making. It has been a long journey. But to quote José Alfredo Jimenez: "No hay que llegar primero, pero hay que saber llegar."
Created: April 1998
(photo: Daniel Schaefer)