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Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Ay te dejo en San Antonio"

Flaco Jimenez - "Ay te dejo en San Antonio" (1986)

Jimenez has five Grammy awards for playing accordion. I think that's a record that's likely to stand.

Flaco Jimenez is a strong proponent of a style of music called Conjunto the name means group, which was the primary difference between it and the previously dominant music of Mexico; Ranchera. Ranchera music was mostly one man and his guitar. Not to say that was all the music in the diverse country, mariachi was created in South West Mexico stemming from Ranchera but adding a lot of back up musicians. Banda came from North West Mexico and is rooted in military marching music. Conjunto is from southern Texas and northern Mexico, where Polish and German immigrants brought the accordion and a love for polka music. Flaco's first Grammy was awarded for the album Ay te dejo en San Antonio y mas! which contained this track, as well as a version of the well known "Beer Barrel Polka".

A typical Conjunto group consists of an accordion, a bass, a 12 string guitar called a  bajo sexto that plays on the low side, and a drum set. Flaco's father was a musician, and taught his sons to play accordion. Both Jimenez brothers record and perform, but Flaco has attained world wide fame. This album was recorded in San Antonio with German American Chris Strachwitz as producer.

The song is sung to an unfaithful woman. She has another lover in Laredo, so the singer is going to leave her in San Antonio. The bass and accordion give the song a polka-like sound. This is clearly a song you dance to. The accordion takes the roll of lead instrument here, like a guitar would in a typical pop song. What is it about pop songs where the singer is having a terrible experience but covers it up with upbeat music?

1 comment:

  1. You didn't say much about the drums. Most of it is just the typical keeping the beat with an occasional flourish. What I find interesting is the use of little mini drum rolls instead of a cymbal hit or use of a different drum. I don't even hear a base drum. To me it sounds like one guy with one snare drum. And I think the guy's musical background is marching band. Still, that's part of the appeal of the song. Simplicity.