- Cathy Ragland
(b Skidmore, TX, July 25, 1911; d Sunnyside, WA, July 8, 1999). American conjunto musician. Santiago Almeida is best known for playing the bajo sexto on some of the earliest and best known recordings of Texas-Mexican conjunto music. Almeida was born into a farmworker family that played music to make ends meet. At 15, he joined the family band, Orquesta Almeida, and played numerous dances in the lower Rio Grande Valley. It was at these dances that he likely encountered accordionist narciso Martínez . The duo performed together at dances before making their first recording in 1936 for Bluebird Records, a low budget sub-label of RCA records marketed to regional and ethnic audiences. It was a 78-rpm disk of a polka, “La Chicharronera” and a schottische, “El Troconal,” which sold well and is now regarded as the first modern conjunto recording. The pairing of these two instruments was significant as it established the musical “core” of the modern Texas-Mexican ...