September 25, 2002 Tex-Mex Border Music Featured at Oct. 4 Library of Congress Outdoor Concert
Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Contact: Concert Line: (202) 707-5502
Singer and accordion virtuoso Santiago Jimenez Jr. brings his special brand of music to the Library's Neptune Plaza at noon on Friday, Oct. 4. No tickets are required for this concert, which is part of the "Homegrown: Music of America" series, a partnership of the Library's American Folklife Center and Music Division, and the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington.
A major figure in Tex-Mex border music, Jimenez is the younger son of Don Santiago Jimenez Sr., one of the great pioneers of conjunto accordion style. While his older brother Leonardo "Flaco" Jimenez has helped modernize conjunto by bringing in jazz, rock and rhythm and blues concepts, Jimenez Jr. has intentionally fashioned his playing after his father's more traditional style.
Spanish conjunto songs are lively and direct and deal with real-life situations-work, love and dance. Jimenez Jr. is a living memory of a time when the Mexican-American people of South Texas were making their presence known amid social oppression, forced assimilation and economic difficulty. His music represents the experience of a people and a culture, and it is celebrated for having helped shape a society that retains a strong cultural identity.
This Neptune Plaza appearance by Jimenez Jr. is offered as part of the Library's "I Hear America Singing" initiative, a five-year concert series and overarching theme for an interactive Web site under development by the Library of Congress. Encompassing classical music, jazz, rhythm and blues, folk and popular music, American musical theater, rock and roll, choral music, and opera, the series is a musical journey across America. In addition to performances, it also features educational activities, master classes, workshops, symposia and educational programs.
Formally created when the Library of Congress moved from the Capitol to the Jefferson Building in 1897, the Music Division has a long history of collecting and preserving unique documents of the history of music. In addition to nearly comprehensive holdings of copyright deposits of music books, periodicals and printed music, the division has some of the greatest manuscript treasures of Western music. An endowment from Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge in 1925 established the division as a center for musical composition, study and performance in addition to its more traditional role of collecting and preserving works about music.
The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival presentation, reference service, live performance, exhibition public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. Part of the Kennedy Center's Performing Arts for Everyone initiative, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the center's mission to make performing arts widely accessible. The Millennium Stage introduces the performing arts to the local community and to millions of people who visit the center each year. These free, 6 p.m. performances are offered 365 days a year, and tickets are never required. Daily broadcasts of Millennium Stage concerts are available on the Internet. For a schedule and information on how to access the broadcasts, visit the Kennedy Center Web site: http://kennedy-center.org.
The Folklore Society of Greater Washington (FSGW) was established to further the understanding, investigation, appreciation and performance of the traditional folk music and folklore of the American people. The FSGW presents more than 200 folklore events in the Washington, D.C., area each year, including sharing music within a community, festivals, concerts and dances.