Dust off those dancing shoes and get ready to party. Grammy winners Los Texmaniacs will be bringing their high-tempo melodic sound to Butchart Gardens, this July.
The six-strong band hails from San Antonio, Texas, and will swell to an 11-member ensemble for the shows. They have had a long run of success in Mexico and the States since the late ‘90s, and have travelled the world, including tours to Russia and China.
“We’re so excited about the Butchart Gardens trip. We’ve played the Vancouver Island Music Festival a couple times but never around Victoria,” says founding member Max Baca.
The Texmaniacs play a tejano style of conjunto, a distinctive Mexican sound with roots stretching back into 1800s Europe. It has been well documented how cultural cross-pollination contributed to the miracle of twentieth century US music diversity and conjunto is no different. As with jazz, bluegrass or rhythm and blues, different instrument mixes can help form entire musical styles, such as Cajun, which utilizes the accordion and fiddle. Conjunto relies on the combination of button accordion and twelve string bajo sexto, which contains both guitar and bass strings.
The music begins with German, Pole and Czech immigration to Mexico in the 1800s, bringing their waltz, polka and traditional genres with them. After the Mexican Revolution, many were forced into Texas, and the intrigued local musicians adopted some of their instruments and oom-pah sound. Polka, corrido and mariachi all flavoured the music before the sound became centred on the button accordion and bajo sexto. Spread by migrant farm workers in Mexico and Texas, who would hold barn dances at the end of the working week, the music evolved into a four-piece containing drum set and upright bass (later replaced by electric bass). The Spanish word for this “ensemble” is conjunto, and the name stuck.
“It’s very German influenced and it’s foot tapping music. It makes you want to get up and dance,” says Baca.
Los Texmaniacs won a Grammy Award for Tejano Album of the Year “Borders y Bailes” in 2010 and were nominated in 2018 for their latest work “Cruzando Borders,” which explores crossing the frontera, borders around the world, and overcoming musical and cultural boundaries. More information can be found at lostexmaniacs.com.
This summer, Butchart Gardens have over 60 performances on their open-air concert stage, with all performances included with general admission. The Los Texmaniacs special event will take place on Wednesday, July 10, and include support from the Lone Star Amigos. For more information on this gig or Butchart Gardens’ upcoming events or fireworks shows visit butchartgardens.com. Tickets cost $33.80 but there are significant concessions available.