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Chano Cadena y Su Conjunto

Date: Nov 04, 2017
Chano was born on October 31, 1937, on a ranch, near Palito Blanco, a community ‘muy chiquito’, 14 miles south of Alice, Texas. The family would listen to phonograph records—78’s of Narcisco Martinez and Lydia Mendoza—as well as listen on the radio to the latest Mexican rancheras beaming from Mexican stations across the border. Chano wasn’t the first accordionist in the family. His older brother Jose began to first play the instrument until he shipped off to Europe during World War II. Jose returned after the War and again picked up the accordion. Seeing his older brother playing the instrument inspired Chano, who was 10 years old, to began playing a toy accordion. His father, Don Ignacio Cadena, immediately recognized his son’s talent, so he sacrificed and saved up enough dollars to buy Chano a real accordion and began taking him around the ranchos to play for neighbors and friends. Father and son would walk miles to these ranchos with Chano’s accordion in a pillow case. Soon after, he was being taken around to the cantinas to play for patrons who would pay him nickels and quarters for polkitas, valses and popular canciones. It was when he started going to school in Alice that he began to form a conjunto. His first recordings were advertising jingles for a department store recorded with Tejano music pioneer Armando Marroquin. From then on, Chano recorded several times with Mr. Marroquin as a session musician, and soon after, he recorded with his own conjunto. In the 60's and 70's, Chano's conjunto toured all over Texas and even in states such as New Mexico, Colorado, and Florida. It was on this Conjunto circuit that the conjunto shared a stage with many legendary greats such as Tony De La Rosa and El Conjunto Bernal. Many successful musicians such as Juan Sifuentes, Manuel Solis, and Ruben Naranjo began their careers as a member of Chano's conjunto. In the late 1960’s and 70’s, Chano’s conjunto assembled perhaps his most talented lineup, featuring the vocal duo Tonio Vasquez and Fidel Cavazos. The 80’s and 90’s brought another great era as the conjunto recorded many successful albums with Beltran Garcia’s Canasta label out of Kingsville. Chano Cadena was inducted into the Tejano R.O.O.T.S. Hall of Fame in Alice, Texas, in 2001. He was also inducted in 2007 to the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum in San Benito. Chano continues to record and play to this day in and around South Texas. In 2011, Chano Cadena celebrated its 57th year of bringing the finest in Conjunto music to its fans and to the public.
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