Monday, September 26, 2011

Frankie Caballero

Frankie Caballero is from Donna, TX, a home base to many of South Texas' finest musicians like Pedro Ayala, Pedro Ayala Jr., Ramon Ayala (the legendary bajo sexto player), Los Donneños, Mario Montes Jr., Danny Yanez and countless others. The future accordion maestro spent his youth in East Donna and he even attended Donna High School. His brother Chon is also a very talented piono accordionist. Presently, Frankie's son (Frankie Jr.) is also a fellow musician and plays many gigs across the Valley. Here are a few videos I would love to share with the readers of Pharr From Heaven, so they can get a glimpsed of his virtuoso talent.

First off, this is a professionally shot video for a television program named Capital Grupera con furia. It has Frankie Caballero performing with Jimmy Gonzalez y El Grupo Mazz (a Grammy-Award winning band from South Texas). He is performing "Las Polkitas del Tigre", which is a potpourri (also known as a medley). For those not familiar with the terminology, that means it is a musical arrangement of various individual songs. The songs in this potpourri include "Genaro Tamez", "Lo Tengo Decidido", "La del Moño Colorado", "La Piedrera", and "Amarrate el Sincho". As people would say down here, se avienta el guey!

I'm a big fan of unique accordion work, I love hearing Blues and Jazz licks on the three row, diatonic button accordion. This video seems to have been shot from a cell phone camera, but don't let that keep you away from watching this video. Caballero plays some absolutely fantastic blues on his accordion, creating an original sound. Awesome stuff.

Finally, here is Caballero improvising and jamming out, basically showcasing what he is capable of on the accordion. Beautiful skills, him busting out Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" on the three row, diatonic button accordion is the epitome of badass.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nieuwe Helden meets Ramiro Cavazos

This is really cool and awesome to see. Kok de Koning and Remco Posthumus are from the Netherlands, and they form a band called Nieuwe Helden. They are huge fans of both Norteno and Conjunto music, and both those styles have influenced them greatly. It's very interesting to see musicians from North-West Europe observe something that grew from our area and form their musical style around it. Almost coming full circle as we took what the Europeans were doing in Texas ages ago and made it our own genre. Here they are performing Polka Potpourri, and it sounds great:

Well about a year ago, Kok de Koning and Remco Posthumus made a trip to the Rio Grande Valley and got the opportunity to meet with Ramiro Cavazos. For those not familiar with Cavazos, he is the legendary bajo sexto player from the iconic Valley band Los Donneños. He is also a member of the Conjunto Hall of Fame and recorded many fantastic musicians on his old RyN Discos record label. He currently owns a music shop in McAllen, a place where the local TV program "Acordeones de Tejas" has filmed at. Here is Koning and Posthumus jamming out with our local legend at his music shop:

These two guys really hold Ramiro Cavazos in such high esteem (Kok said it was a "great honour" to play with him) and they are clearly having a blast here. Aesthetically, we have similar tastes so if they make another trip to the Valley, I would really love to see them perform live.