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Conjunto Aztlan
Conjunto Aztlan members with instruments
Conjunto: Spanish for ensemble or group, refers to a specific Tejano musical group whose principal instruments are the button accordion and the 12 string bajo sexto.  

Aztlan: translated from the Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, means "the place of whiteness," and according to the Codex Boturini, it is the original Aztec homeland. It was from Aztlan, somewhere in the Southwestern United States, that the Azteka-Mexica set out, in the year one flint (1064 A.D.), on a sacred journey that lasted about three hundred years and culminated in the founding of Mexico-Tenochitlan (now Mexico City). The Chicano Movement, in an expression of self-determination and reaffirmation of a heritage culturally and spiritually linked to the original/native people of this continent, embraced the concept of Aztlan as our homeland.

Conjunto Aztlan represents 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." 

--Liner Notes
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© 1998, Conjunto Aztlan 
 Created: April 1998
(photo: Daniel Schaefer)