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Texas Folklife

Folk and Traditional Arts of Texas


Most recent articles, events, video, audio and blog posts for this page:
  • Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program Poster
    Posted on Thu Aug 13, 2020

    Fostering the continuity of folk and traditional arts in Texas, the Apprenticeship Program funds and supports an extended period of intensive learning and exchange between outstanding master artists and apprentices.  For more information, please contact Pete Breithaupt, Apprenticeship Program Coordinator, at, or fill out the Apprenticeship Program Interest Form:  Application materials for the 2020-2021 Apprenticeship Program will be available this fall.

  • Flyer for the Virtual Stories Summer Institute including a photo of three smiling people at a home.
    Posted on Tue Mar 10, 2020
    Virtual Stories Summer Institute #SSI2020
    Texas Folklife invites educators interested in radio, podcasting and folklore in Texas to participate in a virtual Stories from Deep in the Heart Summer Institute during the week of August 16-21 with online
  • Patton Elementary students interviewed for "Patton Stories" series
    Posted on Tue Mar 3, 2020

    Texas Folklife participated in the annual Patton Arts Day on March 13, 2020. We worked with schools to distribute cultural survey to the students, and choose six students' stories to record. The six "Patton Stories" cover the students and their families traditions and customs. The finished audio stories are based on interviews with the students and their parents, and feature customs based in India, Ireland, Mexico, El Salvador, and more. 

    Patton Arts Day Stories 2020

  • Posted on Wed Nov 6, 2019

  • Posted on Wed Oct 16, 2019

    We'll be at the annual 

  • Posted on Fri Jun 28, 2019
    The annual Stories Summer Institute was June 17-21, 2019. During the Institute, participants crafted stories with instruction and guidance from audio radio producers and a guest folklorist instructor. Participants enrolled from education and nonprofits backgrounds and created four unique audio stories about "Women in the Austin Music Scene." The intensive workshop covered radio production, such as interviewing, logging, and sound, and also the folklore tradition of storytelling.
  • Posted on Mon Jul 9, 2018

    After a week of hard work, the 2018 Summer Institute concluded with a listening party on June 28th at the Worker's Defense Project. The venue was packed with people coming to hear our participants' podcasts chronicling stories and folklore related to this year's theme of Immigration and Labor.

  • Posted on Thu Dec 28, 2017

    It’s that time of the year! It's time to start squeezebox practice and time to dust off those dance moves. 


    We are gearing up for 2018’s round of the Big Squeeze. This is the program's 12th year. 


    I am glad to be back with the program again this year. There is nothing I am more passionate about in this world than Texan music, traditions and history. The preservation, promotion and continuance of our Texan musical traditions and arts are themes I strongly believe in. Cultural appreciation is vital in today’s digital world, and even more so in our changing political landscape.


    What’s New in 2018?


    We have some AWESOME changes this year that we hope will result in more players participating to spread the love of music and the skill of accordion-playing. We want to expand and create a fair environment with the Big Squeeze!


    The Conjunto Category has been split into two age categories:


    ·       Conjunto Grand Prize, Ages 17 and under

    ·       Anthony Ortiz, Jr. Conjunto Grand Prize, Ages 18-21


    The Polka Category has been extended include ages 25 and under.


    There are no changes in the Cajun and Zydeco Category.


    Program Mission & How It Works


    The Big Squeeze is an accordion contest for Young Texan Accordionists, in all genres of Texas traditional music – Conjunto, Tejano, Norteño, Cajun, Zydeco, Polka, Vallenato, Country Western, and more. The accordion, “the national instrument of Texas,” is a central instrument in the music of many cultural and ethnic groups in the state. The Big Squeeze aims to cultivate the next generation of musical culture bearers by creating opportunities for young musicians to showcase their skills. In the process, Texas Folklife contributes to the sustainability of traditional music practices and aids in the development of local economies through partnerships with small businesses and nonprofit organizations.


    This statewide contest is one of the ways in which Texas Folklife carries out its mission to preserve, present, and nurture Texas’s diverse cultural heritage.  Many past winners of the contest are now leading accordion stars and teachers in their communities across the state. Through the Big Squeeze program, Texas Folklife has built a reputation as a champion of Texas accordion music genres, and has supported hundreds of young, talented players in their efforts to carry on these community-based accordion music traditions. 


     Texas Folklife, bolstered by the help of various sponsors and community partners, hosts accordion showcase events in the Rio Grande Valley, Houston, Greater Dallas Area, San Antonio and more! The Big Squeeze finals are held annually at the Bullock History Museum in Austin, while contest winners have the opportunity to perform at Texas Folklife's annual Accordion Kings & Queens concert at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Houston!


    The Big Squeeze program and showcase events are partnerships with local businesses, art galleries, record labels, non-profit arts organizations, local public school districts, and universities. 


    This year, participants and patrons can expect the signature accordion showcases of the years past in the many parts of this great state. To be specific, Texas Folklife, bolstered by the help of various sponsors, will host roaming accordion showcases events in the Rio Grande Valley, Houston, Greater Dallas Area, San Antonio and more!


    Each showcase will feature a filmed audition in front of a live audience. Accordion players, that fit each categories age requirements can apply to participate in the following genres: Conjunto, Zydeco / Cajun and Polka.


    The Polka genre will include German, Czech and Polish traditions. The Zydeco genre will include Creole and Cajun musical traditions. And, the Conjunto genre will include Norteño and Tejano.


    What can you expect at each roaming accordion showcase?


    Well, the default format of each showcase is the same, although there may be some workshops or exercises tacked on or worked into some. Each showcase will have:



    •Opening Remarks

    •Young Accordion Filmed Audition In Front of Live Audience

    •Local Headliner To Close Out the Event


    All auditions will be filmed and sent to our panel of judges who will then announce finalists in each category and region. Finalists will then be invited to compete for champion prizes in Austin on April 21, 2018 at The Bullock Texas State History Museum. Lodging and a travel stipend will be provided to finalists for their trip to Austin.


    All are competing for the title of the best of the state and one champion in each category will be showcased at the Accordion Kings and Queens Concert in Houston on June 2nd, 2018.


    How You Can Help


    As in years past, the program has identified a couple of areas you can help! Here is how:


    1. Help us recruit young accordion players!


    Once our application opens, help us spread the word about our program to every young accordion player in your community.  We need entrants who are passionate about the accordion and music. Some details:


    •Applicants must fit the age requirements of their specified category.

    •Applicants must currently reside in Texas.

    •Applicants must include photo to be considered.

    •Applicants must submit complete entry form to be considered.


    2. Be a sponsor – either individually or through your business!


    We are seeking individuals and businesses that can sponsor any of these young artists through transportation, food, and lodging to get them to Austin for the Finals Showcase at The Bullock Texas State History Museum on April 21, 2018. If you would like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, e-mail


    3. Donate to the Big Squeeze Program or Texas Folklife!


    Texas Folklife accepts any and all donations - big, small or medium! We are seeking individuals and businesses that can sponsor any of these young artists through transportation, food, and lodging to get them to Austin for the Finals Showcase at The Bullock Texas State History Museum on April 21, 2018.


    We could even use supply or service donations for the Big Squeeze Program.


    What does that mean? Snack donations, paper goods, office supplies, bottled water, printing services, marketing services and more!


    Also, we are also always seeking financial donations for our organization. If interested, please visit Or mail a check to Texas Folklife with the words “Big Squeeze” on the note line to 1708 Houston St, Austin, TX 78756.


    4. Attend an event! Invite your friends and family and post on social media about it!


    Help us with the program mission by being our guest and attending any of the regional events, as well as the Finals Showcase at The Bullock Texas State History Museum on April 21, 2018. All events are free and open to the public.


    On behalf of all at Texas Folklife, I sincerely hope to see you and yours at the upcoming Big Squeeze Showcases.


    And, if you have questions, suggestions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail me directly at


    Keep Squeezin’!


    Alysha Nicole Hernández

  • Posted on Wed Jan 11, 2017


  • Posted on Mon Dec 12, 2016