Narciso Martínez and Santiago Almeida
The accordionist Narciso Martínez and bajo sexto player Santiago Almeida together made landmark recordings in the 1930s. These recordings have given them the reputation as the “Fathers of Conjunto.”
Their style of playing helped establish the fundamental relationship between the accordion and bajo sexto in conjunto music. Narciso’s style was more marcato (punchy) and rhythmic than other players and he also de-emphasized the bass notes of the accordion. Santiago filled in with beautifully executed bass runs, arpeggios, and rhythmic strumming of the chords.
Their popularity got them a job with Ideal Records as the house instrumentalists. During their time there, they recorded hundreds of songs with many musicians and vocalists also involved in the development of conjunto and Tejano music.
While many modern conjuntos now include bass and drums, accordion and bajo sexto remain the core of the ensemble and sound.