Flaco Jimenez [1939- ]
The son of renowned conjunto musician Santiago Jimenez, Sr., Leonardo “Flaco” Jimenez is regarded as one of the most important contributors to Tejano music. Born in 1939 in San Antonio, Texas, Jimenez learned to play the accordion from a young age, inheriting his father’s own nickname, “Flaco,” meaning “skinny” in Spanish.
Performing with multiple conjunto groups around San Antonio, Flaco Jimenez became a stalwart in the Tejano community and eventually helped bring the genre to the attention of mainstream American artists in the 1980s and '90s. He has recorded with a variety of popular artists including Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Peter Rowan and The Rolling Stones and is known as an ambassador of the Tejano style.
In the '90s his band, the Texas Tornados -- which included fellow San Antonio musicians Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers and Freddie Fender -- further popularized Tejano music by winning a Grammy for their 1990 song Soy de San Luis.
Flaco Jimenez’s influence in the Tejano genre cannot be understated. In a career that spans over five decades, he has won five Grammys and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Billboard Latin Magazine as well as numerous other honors.
His music has been included on the soundtracks of many popular films and he has contributed on over 100 albums. In 2009 Jimenez collaborated with the Hohner instrument company on a signature series of accordions. Flaco Jimenez continues to perform and record and is regarded by many as the “Father of Conjunto Music.”