Monday, August 27, 2012

Juan Villarreal and Paulino Bernal

Gilberto Reyes and Paulino Bernal

One of my favorite destinations online is ReyesForo (Reyes Forum). Harlingen native and Hohner executive Gilberto Reyes created this forum for fans of accordion style music. Gilberto recently made this post, which I feel would be a great interest to everyone that is a fan of border music. This post features the great news that conjunto icon, Raymondville native Paulino Bernal and norteño accordion maestro Juan Villarreal were recently awarded with lifetime achievement awards from Hohner. Congratulations to both gentleman!

Here is Juan Villarreal performing with Ramiro Cavazos at the Discos RyN in McAllen.

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.