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Photographs by Daniel Schaefer

Eugenio Aguilar - Fidencio Aguilar - Jose Aguilar - Silvestre Avila - Abel Barrientos - Tacho Bravo - Camilo Cantu - Chris Cruz - Johnny DeGollado. - Roy Donoso - Jesse Duran - Joe Flores - Marcelo Gauna - Robert Gauna - Chon Martinez - Robert Medina - Bennie Mendez - Jose Pedraza - Juan Ramirez - Hector Rodriguez - Paco Rodriguez, Jr. - Trini Rodriguez - Alfredo Romayor - Manuel Sandoval - Marcelo Tafolla - Tacho Tovar - Lalo Treviño - Isidro Samilpa

Background notes for "Yo soy de aqui"

These photos were made in the late 1970's and early 1980's. When I started shooting them I did not have a plan to make a show. I shot the pictures because I love conjunto music and I think that accordions are beautiful. In fact, I shot almost all the photos using the same composition which emphasizes the accordion as much as the person playing. With time came the realization that I had a collection that included many-but not all-of the conjunto style accordion players since the beginning of the style in the 1930's. That's when the project became more work than fun. Until then it had been a case of hanging out, usually at El Coyote Night Club, El Tejano Ballroom or The Capricorn Night Club. I liked taking the photos and the accordion players were generally flattered that someone would do a nice photo of them. After the historical importance of the collection became a consideration I started tracking down individuals I had heard about but not seen in an effort to make it more comprehensive. The best example of this is Camilo Cantu.

Known as "El Asote De Austin"(The Scourge From Austin) Camilo Cantu was a contemporary of Narciso Martinez and Santiago Jimenez, Sr. I think it is fair to say that he was to Central Texas what Sr. Jimenez was to San Antonio, or, Sr. Martinez was to the Rio Grand Valley: the father of Central Texas conjunto music. Sr. Cantu played throughout Central Texas. From what I have been able to figure out the most popular venue was a place called "La Polkita," which was an outdoor "night club" located in Del Valle. (Jose Reyna and I tracked down the site of "La Polkita," a story in itself.) Getting a photo of Sr. Cantu was not easy. He had not played in many years and didn't see any reason for being photographed. But, because both Benny Romero, owner of El Coyote Night Club, and, Johnny DeGollado asked, he consented. A point of interest, and a terrible tragedy, is that we have no recordings of Camilo Cantu's music. He is in the Conjunto Hall Of Fame but because he didn't have a large enough audience to support a recording industry his music is lost to us.

Daniel Schaefer

a picture of eugenio aguilar performing music

a picture of fidencio aguilar performing music

Eugenio Aguilar
Brother to Mingo Zapata
their conjunto ruled Lockhart
for at least thirty years. Both
were blind. They turned the
handicap into an advantage.
Fidencio Aguilar
South Austin's own, Sr. Aguilar
led Conjunto Cariño.

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Photographs copyrighted by Daniel J. Schaefer.
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