SAN ANTONIO, TX — “The Real Tejano Conjunto Accordion Book,” a one-of-a-kind book and piece of art that tells the story of accordionists and the musical art form that they helped develop in and around San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley, recently debuted at the UTSA Libraries Special Collections.
“We commissioned ‘The Real Tejano Conjunto Accordion Book’ to highlight the importance of the accordion and accordionists in Tejano music,” said Steph Noell, UTSA special collections librarian. “While the format of the book will excite and intrigue people, the content is just as important as it highlights a segment of music and musicians who are major figures in Tejano music but are rarely talked about.”
The custom accordion book was created by artist Peter Thomas, along with his wife Donna Thomas, with support from The Arhoolie Foundation. The foundation was created from the work of founder Chris Strachwitz and his seminal independent record label Arhoolie Records, which are dedicated to documenting, preserving, and celebrating regional roots music and its makers with a particular emphasis on the genres of Blues, Cajun/Zydeco, and Tejano/Norteño.
“We’ve made a number of these before and most of them have been about the history of the accordion,” said Peter Thomas. “I offered to make one about the history of accordion playing in San Antonio. I didn’t know what I was getting into, it was a more complex topic than I had ever imagined.”
The unique book was created in an artistic fashion featuring photos and text in an accordion-like presentation. Artists’ books are works of art in which artists use the medium of books to create small print runs or one-of-a-kind objects.
“Some are readable, and some are just art, but they all stretch the imagination of what we consider a book,” Noell added.
“The Real Tejano Conjunto Accordion Book” joins more than 250 other artists’ books in the Rare Books Collection at UTSA Libraries to be preserved but are publicly accessible in perpetuity for students, faculty, and researchers.
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