Santiago Almeida

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Santiago Almeida (born July 25, 1911, Skidmore, Texas, died July 8, 1999) was a Texas musician influential in the development of the musical genres of tejano and conjunto.

Almeida grew up on a farm, and in his teens played the bajo sexto in his family's ensemble, La Orquestra Almeida. In the mid-1930s, Almeida began playing with accordionist Narciso Martínez at local dances and festivals. In 1935, Almeida and Martinez recorded a single for Bluebird Records, "La Chicharronera" b/w "El Troconal" (the former a polka and the latter a schottische). These are generally regarded as the earliest known recordings of conjunto music. The duo would record extensively for Bluebird, releasing some 60 additional singles for the label between 1935 and 1938. The pair's popularity grew as a result, and they performed extensively, both live in South Texas and on record as backing musicians for conjunto singers. In the 1940s, the pair continued to record for Ideal Records and Disco de Oro.

By the late 1940s, Almeida had amassed a large family and found his musical success more difficult to sustain. He moved to Sunnyside, Washington in 1950, working as an apple picker and music teacher. He continued to perform locally at gatherings and in churches for the next several decades.

In 1987, his contributions to music were recognized when he was inducted into the Conjunto Hall of Fame in San Antonio, and in 1993 he was awarded the Governor's Heritage Award in Washington.

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