I’ll admit, when I was younger, I didn’t really like or appreciate Conjunto and Tejano music. It was like “why do have to listen to this old people music?” My cousins and I (like most kids our age) were getting into artists like Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony and TLC.
It wasn’t 'til I was maybe in my twenties and moved back to Texas did I start to “get” the music that reminded me of the Valley and helped me rediscover my roots. Today I appreciate the musicianship, and the narratives from folks that share our common Tex-Mex heritage.
On Sunday, July 30 tejano and conjunto legend Nick “El Nicky Snick” Villarreal passed away after being hospitalized the day before for cardiac arrest. The 66-year-old had been diagnosed with diabetes and was undergoing dialysis in the past couple years.
This singer and accordion player was known for his “unmistakable, easy-going goofy cumbias,” and wrote songs about everything from Saddam Hussein (“El Saddam Huessein”) to Kool-Aid (“Koolaid Con Hielo”) and even to former pro-golfer Tiger Woods (“El Tiger Woods”).
Villarreal learned how to play the accordion at 5-years-old through his grandfather James Zimmerle and eventually started his own conjunto with brothers Roger, David and cousin, David Zimmerle.
A public viewing and service will be held on Thursday, August 3, with a funeral on Friday August 4. Details below.
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