Music in their hearts

Valley musician to present conjunto music hall of fame induction award

INFOBOX: MEET THE MUSICIAN

WHO — Pedro C. Saldana

HOMETOWN — San Benito

CURRENT CITY — Brownsville

OCCUPATION — Singer, songwriter and recording artist

STAGE NAME — Rooster Savage

GENRES — Tejano, country, Tex-Mex, rhythm and blues, ranchero, mariachi and conjunto

EMAIL — roostersavage1@gmail.com

By ALANA HERNANDEZ

Staff Writer

SAN BENITO — To Pedro C. Saldana, writing a song is similar to piecing together a puzzle.

He believes a song’s lyrics and music need to fit and make sense.

Saldana’s start with music was originally solely dedicated toward rock.

But it was one fateful performance with conjunto musician Martin Zapata that led them through a 32-year path of performing conjunto music together.

And this weekend, Saldana and Zapata will mark another musical milestone in their lives.

The San Benito native who now resides in Brownsville, will present an award to Zapata at the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s 18th annual Induction Awards that will be held Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall in San Benito.

Saldana said he feels proud Zapata chose him to present the Hall of Fame award.

“Martin is a master musician and a great teacher,” Saldana said. “He has a quality of showing you what he knows.”

Saldana’s path toward music

From rock, Tex-Mex, rhythm and blues to ranchero, mariachi, country and conjunto, Saldana has immersed his talent into a variety of music genres.

Saldana’s entrance into the world of music happened on a whim when he was a teenager.

“I had this friend who just moved into a new home that had an empty room with great acoustics,” he explained. “So, one day when the whole gang was there, they elected me to be the vocals of a rock band they were creating.”

Saldana admits, he didn’t even know if he could sing at the time.

But after encouragement from his friends, he decided to become the group’s missing link.

Years later, after the band went their separate ways, Saldana’s mom volunteered him to play a gig in San Benito with a local conjunto band, Los Brillantes de Martin Zapata.

“I told my mom I was going to take a rain check because I didn’t know what conjunto music was and didn’t even know how to play it,” he explained. “I played rock.”

But it was already too late in the day to find a replacement.

“I looked for the band and told them straight out that the whole thing was going to be a disaster if they wanted me to play the drums,” Saldana said. “So, they told me to follow the beat of the guitar and that’s how I was able to play that night.”

After that performance, Saldana became the new drummer for Los Brillantes de Martin Zapata and performed with them until 2000.

In between his time performing with Los Brillantes de Martin Zapata, Saldana wrote songs and recorded them with his band, Suspiro.

“Music makes me feel at ease,” Saldana said. “To me, it’s like trying to express the best of you to the people that appreciate your music.”

Saldana’s inspiration

As a cousin of Baldemar Garza Huerta, most famously known as Freddy Fender, Saldana said he grew up motivated by his music.

He remembers when Fender was recording his songs and told everyone his cousin was going to “make it one day.”

“He made his mark and did his best,” Saldana said. “He was the only inspiration in my life and there will never be another Freddy Fender again.”

MEET THE MUSICIAN

WHO — Pedro C. Saldana

HOMETOWN — San Benito

CURRENT CITY — Brownsville

OCCUPATION — Singer, songwriter and recording artist

STAGE NAME — Rooster Savage

GENRES — Tejano, country, Tex-Mex, rhythm and blues, ranchero, mariachi and conjunto

EMAIL — roostersavage1@gmail.com