A Conjunto Pioneer: Longoria documentary to be shown Saturday

SAN BENITO – The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center presents a special screening of “For a Quarter a Song” a documentary on conjunto pioneer Valerio Longoria produced by Dr. Manuel Medrano, history professor at UTRGV.

A special musical performance by Valerio’s son, Flavio Longoria of San Antonio, Texas will follow the presentation.

Valerio Longoria was one of nine children born to cotton-field workers in Kenedy in 1924.

He began playing accordion at the age of seven by observing conjunto pioneer Narciso Martinez.

By the 1930s he was playing at weddings and parties in Harlingen and Los Coyotes Ranch in Willacy County.

At 18, he was drafted into the Army and stationed in Germany where he played the accordion at local nightclubs.

He returned to the United States in 1945 and moved to San Antonio where he recorded his first two songs, “Cielito” and “Jesus Cadena,” with Corona Records and later recorded “El Rosalito.”

Valerio signed with Ideal Records, staying with the label for eight years and establishing himself as one of the most innovative of the new generation of conjunto musicians.

In 1959 he moved to Chicago and signed with Firma records and then moved to California eight years later where he recorded with Volcan Records.

Both recording labels failed to distribute and promote his music in Texas causing his fame and fan base to decline.

In his 60-year career, Valerio recorded more than 200 songs.

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