2018 APPRENTICESHIPS SHOWCASE AT TEXAS FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL!
UTSA INSTITUTE OF TEXAN CULTURES
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
For the 48th Annual Texas Folklife Festival, Texas Folklife has organized a showcase that both aims to highlight the diverse traditions the organization has supported this year, as well as demonstrate the continuation of these traditions through the performance of 2018 apprenticeship participants. The three groups include master artist Felipe Perez and apprentice Lorenzo Martinez (Conjunto); master artist Felipe Perez and apprentice Lorenzo Martinez (Accordion Tuning & Repair); and apprentice Ariana Bina (Polka Accordion).
Festival Information: https://www.texasfolklifefestival.org/
What is the Apprenticeship Program?
The Texas Folklife Apprenticeships in the Folk & Traditional Arts Program provide awards up to $2,500 to participants to teach or learn a traditional art through an apprenticeship pair. This pair is made up of a master artist - an individual who has practiced a certain art for a significant period and is identified as an expert in their field - and an apprentice who wants to take their abilities to the next level through studying under the direction of an experienced artist. The meetings are face-to-face interactions that have both individuals working intensely to improve and perfect their craft. The artist biographies can be found below.
Master artist Felipe Perez and apprentice Lorenzo Martinez are legendary artists in the San Antonio conjunto scene, with almost 70 years’ experience each playing accordion. Mr. Perez has performed in conjunto groups since the 1950s as a child, studying under Juan Lopez and leading groups such as Los Sargentos on the Bohemia Records label. For the past several decades he has led the group Felipe Perez y Sus Polkeros, recording numerous 78s, LPs, and CDs; most recently, Mr. Perez has recorded a new album of original polkas and redovas for the Spring Fed Records label, with release in 2018.
Mr. Martinez has also devoted the majority of his life to playing accordion, starting as a child in the 1950s and learning from Santiago Jimenez. As a young teenager, he began playing professionally for several conjuntos and touring. After a hiatus to raise his family, he returned to dedicate himself to the instrument through not only performing, but teaching as an instructor for Conjunto Heritage Taller, teaching children and adults alike. Mr. Martinez has also recently released a CD through Spring Fed Records to great acclaim, and is currently being considered for a Grammy nomination.
Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, Federico Longoria was born into a family of multiple talented musicians. With over 19 years’ experience on the bajo, Federico has recorded with several artists in Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley, and performed across the country for various folk festivals; most recently as far north as Montana. Continuing the family legacy of musicians, Federico co-founded Conteño with his brother Juan Longoria Jr; a mainstay in the Rio Grande Valley, Conteño effortlessly combines the unique styles of Conjunto, Tejano, and Norteño.
Also in Conteño and representing the next generation of Longoria musicians is Federico’s apprentice and nephew, Juan Longoria III. Playing percussion and saxophone in the group for the past three years, Juan also plays bajo quinto for Conjunto Halcon, a conjunto program created by Juan Longoria at Los Fresnos High School. Through the apprenticeship, Juan aims to expand his repertoire on the bajo quinto and sexto, with future plans to pursue a professional career in the Regional Mexican music industry.
While first starting on piano and violin, apprentice Ariana Bina was drawn to the accordion due to her growing up listening to conjunto music, along with polka. These memories crates a lasting impression On Ms. Bina, and by 2015 she had started taking lessons on piano accordion. A featured performer with the Austin Polka Band and playing accordion regularly in her own band in Austin, Ms. Bina seeks to continue to improve as an accordionist under the direction of Shirley Johnson.