FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Austin, Texas – May 14, 2018 – Texas Folklife will bring its annual celebration of the state’s accordion roots music to Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre on , from In keeping with its mission to preserve and present Texas’s diverse musical heritage, the concert will feature Texas accordion music legends in polka, Cajun, zydeco, and conjunto. This year’s accordion stars will include the 2017 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow Eva Ybarra and her band Conjunto Siempre, Keyun Dickson & The Zydeco Masters, Jesse Lége & Bayou Brew, and Czech & Then Some. The accordion masters will be joined onstage by the recently crowned 2018 Big Squeeze Accordion Contest Champs: Peter Gresser (age 13) from Weatherford, Steven Willliams (age 14) from Humble, Melenie Lissette Gonzalez (age 17) from Rio Grande City, and Jesus F. Venegas (age 21) from Brownsville.
Writers and radio hosts Joe Nick Patoski and Tony Diaz return again as the emcees. The concert is free and open to the public.
This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area in the pavilion. The best way to receive free, assigned covered seating for Accordion Kings & Queens 2018 is to be or become a Texas Folklife member by . Tickets will be held at the Texas Folklife Information Will Call Table the day of the event from 5:00 p.m. until 6:55 p.m., and then released if not claimed. To become a member or renew your membership: http://www.texasfolklife.org/info/membership.
Miller Outdoor Theater box office free tickets are available (while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the event (4 tickets per person) from 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. If any tickets remain at , the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, there will be open seating on the hill behind the pavilion.
Eva Ybarra the undisputed “Queen of the Accordion” (La Reina del Acordeón) became a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow in 2017, after a lifetime of performing music. She is one of only a few professional women accordionists in conjunto music, and has been a star from an early age when she began performing in her hometown of San Antonio. She and her band Conjunto Siempre have produced numerous recordings. In addition to being a professional musician, Ybarra is also a music educator. She has taught in colleges across the country, participated as a master teaching artist in Texas Folklife’s Apprenticeship Program, and currently fosters the development of young conjunto players by teaching at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio. She has been inducted into many Halls of Fame, including the Tejano Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum and has won many awards, including the South Texas Conjunto Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Ybarra returns to the stage at Texas Folklife’s Accordion Kings & Queens for the first time since 2010 as an NEA Heritage Award Fellow, our nation’s highest honor for folk and traditional artists.
Jesse Lége & Bayou Brew
Jesse Lége is one of the most admired accordionists and vocalists from Southwest Louisiana. He has been playing a variety of Cajun music for over 40 years. He has recorded five CDs, and has garnered numerous Cajun French Music Association awards, known as the “Cajun Grammys,” and has been inducted into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame. In 2017 he participated as a Master Artist in Texas Folklife’s Apprenticeship Program, and is serving as a judge for the 2018 Big Squeeze Accordion Contest. He will perform with members of Bayou Brew (Darren Wallace on fiddle, Missy Roser on fiddle and vocals, Evelyn Schneider on bass, Erica Weiss on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Keith Garovoy on drums and vocal).
Hailing from Ennis, Texas, one of the hotbeds of Texas Czech culture, Czech & Then Some has been playing music together since January 1997. The majority of the band’s members are of Czech descent and enjoy keeping their Czech Heritage alive. They play a variety of music consisting of polkas, waltzes, country music, and fun dances. Czech & Then Some has performed at many functions such as National Polka Festival in Ennis, Westfest, Accordion Kings in Stephenville, Six Flags Over Texas for the Texas Heritage Festival, Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg, Praha Picnic, Kolache Christmas, weddings, anniversaries, parties, and has appeared on the Good Morning Texas show on WFAA Channel 8 ABC and Good Day Morning Show on Fox 4. They are active as event organizers and performers in the Texas Czech community statewide and have released six albums.
“Our 29th annual Accordion Kings & Queens concert in Houston will be one for the record books”, said Executive Director Charlie Lockwood. “We are headlining with THE Accordion Queen, the incredible Eva Ybarra. And we are bringing Kings and Queens of all genres of accordion-based roots music to the stage: polka, conjunto, Cajun, and zydeco. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to enjoy this spectacular show for free and show your appreciation for these dynamite groups’ musicianship as well as show your support for the young squeezeboxers—Texas Folklife’s new Big Squeeze Champs—who will join these fabulous stars on the stage. We are grateful to the musicians, our sponsors and partners, and to the City of Houston and the Miller Outdoor Theatre for its long support and collaboration.”
About Texas Folklife
Texas Folklife is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State, and is designated by the National Endowment for the Arts as the Folk & Traditional Arts organization for the state. Since 1984, Texas Folklife has honored cultural traditions passed down within communities, explored their importance in contemporary society, and celebrated them by providing accessible and joyful arts experiences.
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