Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Paulino Bernal - Polka Idalia

The name of Paulino Bernal evokes very different emotions for many different people. It almost makes me want to see someone tackle a film about the man. It doesn't even have to use his actual name, they can construct a fictional character out of the unique life and career that Bernal has had. Some time in the future, I might write about his life but now might not be the best time. I don't really feel I posses the knowledge to write about his legendary conjunto contributions and his contentious religious career accurately. He's a pretty complex personality, and there are so many people out there, from fellow conjunto musicians to university professors that cover music or religion that can offer more interesting thoughts about Bernal.

The only thing I can do right now is state the obvious and that is - what a virtuoso he is on the accordion. This entry is to share a live video of Bernal playing one of his most famous compositions and polkas - Idalia. Not sure what the earliest recording of Idalia is, I don't think this is it but this is an early recording he did together with Oscar Hernandez on the chromatic accordions. Pretty amazing from Conjunto Bernal.

Now this is the video I really wanted to share. It's from 2008, looks like at the age of 69, Bernal is still phenomenal. He's playing a Dino Bafetti, a really beautiful instrument that I am assuming he got from Karlos Landin. One of my favorites accordionists, Joel Guzman uses Dino Bafetti accordions as well, and I've heard he gets his from Landin. Look how clean and graceful Bernal is, it's a sight to see how smooth he is. He's a true maestro, and this is evidence as to why his technical accordion skills are so revered by writers, historians, critics, and his fellow musical peers.


  1. Exactly...This man is a living legend. A tremendous talent. A talent that is not being produced anymore. A word to the wise. Paulino Bernal is a must see/hear sing, play and preach at his church in McAllen Texas. Go see him while you still can. These legends are getting older and our music is not really being replaced....look around. Most, if not all of the groups we have are copying this kind of material. NOT coming out with their own songs.

    Robert Rodriguez

  2. So true Robert, he's a true original and a one of a kind talent. He's a very special musician. I hope to see him perform live soon.


  3. The one that told Paulino about the musicians in Reynosa was Mr.Armando Hinojosa .Mr. Hinojosa said , Paulina there is a group in a bar in Reynosa that you should listen to they very good, so they went and heard them and like they the rest is history,Los Relapagos Del Norte were born!