Film, Live Music

Conjunto Blues

When: Thu., May 12, 6 p.m. 2016

Activist, accordionist and artist Nicolás Valdez presents the San Antonio debut of his grab-bag performance piece and documentary Conjunto Blues. In interviews and musical performances, the San Anto native cuts to the working-class experience at the heart of the tejano and conjunto tradition, laying bare the music's "expression of cultural resistance and liberation." First premiering in Denver in 2013, Conjunto Blues is a perfect fit for the Tejano Conjunto Festival, looking with a creative eye back to the genres' cross-cultural origins. In the name alone, Valdez finds the importance of the music's role in South Texas. If blues — the hard-fought music born from the pain and perseverance of black musicians in the Mississippi Delta — captures the suffering and beauty of the American South, conjunto plays the same role for South Texas, where border troubles and impossible heat produced one of the most culturally rich forms of music on the planet. For Valdez, who trained with accordionist and "octavacion" innovator Valerio Longoria, conjunto's social vitality remains front and center. During Conjunto Blues, Robert Casillas will accompany on bajo sexto, the rhythmic best friend of conjunto accordion. After the piece, San Anto's Los Nahuatlatos provide an after-party soundtrack of tejano, ska, hip-hop, reggae and just about any other genre that could adapt to a cumbia beat.

Price: $10-$20