Hello, Piper here, giving this report. Frank has given me a lot of plans since he’s on bed rest, and honestly, I don’t want to forget what he said. So, humor us a little bit and let us know what you think about these plans.
1. Healthwise, he’s doing better. His heart is recovering nicely. He has gone through his second eye surgery, and we’re hoping vision in his right eye will be back in a couple weeks, maybe three. But long term recovery is still in March or April. Fingers crossed. Frank would like to say thank you for all the prayers and well wishes. He feels very blessed with all his website and Facebook friends.
Now, on to his Rancho Alegre future plans…and keep in mind, him being at home and in bed all day, he has a lot of time to think about this…
2. Frank’s main goal for Rancho Alegre is to someday hold a Conjunto festival and a Tejano festival in Waterloo Park. We’ve mentioned this before. The way he feels about it, Austin, if it is the live music capital of the world, it sure has forgotten about Conjunto and Tejano. Plus, he feels that Waterloo Park has hosted so many shitty events that Conjunto or Tejano in that park will not kill it. He feels that events at Fiesta Gardens are good, but that’s where they throw all the Mexican events. And Frank feels, in his own words, that Fiesta Gardens is the back of the bus. And here we are in the new millennium and it’s time to push our music to the front of the bus, a la Rosa Parks. It’s time to market our music to a Caucasian audience with Polish and German roots, who long to hear polkas, which we in Conjunto and Tejano do well.
3. He also wants Rancho Alegre to begin bringing groups to perform in Austin, with the understanding that you must have a headliner for the unknown groups to start making waves in the industry. Especially in Austin, where we have contacted owners of venues around town. What he is trying to do is to make a union between Tejano and Conjunto. in other words, if we bring Jay Perez because we know he draws a crowd, we’re going to have opening for him a group like Bene Medina y su Conjunto. And this is just one of his plans in this area, as his ultimate plan is to bring in all-Tejano shows as well as all-Conjunto shows. For these shows, he plans on bringing in people to teach people how to dance. So, not only is it a traditional dance, he plans on having people there to teach ANYONE how to dance. And we’re talking cumbias, polkas, whatever. If you want to learn at a Rancho Alegre event, you will learn.
4. Another plan he has is, and this one was actually talked about before he got sick, was that he challenged Para La Gente’s Andrew Pulido to a DJ battle for which the location was to be announced. More than likely Tejano Ranch. But he has also reached out to other DJ’s, DJ Lobo in Houston, DJ Tejano Sounds in Lufkin. Frank plans on loading up the Rancho Alegre tour van and going to them on their home turf and battling there. And in return, having them eventually come to Austin so we can get a bit of their flavor. His plan is to get a DJ circuit going, so that if a DJ wants to hit the road to show off his or her skills, they will have a way to do so, in different cities.
So…these are some of the things he is pondering, and when he returns 100%, he’s going to hit the ground running. As he says, “We are counting on the help of people in Austin like owners of these venues to give Conjunto and Tejano a chance. We are also counting on the help of local bar owners, Arturo Balderrama and the NPCMA, local Conjuntos like Los Pinkys, Los Texas Wranglers and Johnny Degollado as well as local Tejano artists like Ruben Ramos, Augustin Ramirez, Joe Bravo, Manuel Donley, to help us push our music to the next generation. Even if it’s not just to the Chicano population. We must learn to share our music with other people who will love it too.”
Frank compares this to the Bluesmen of the 50s 60s and 70s. As Blues fell in popularity, they found new fans and appreciation with the Caucasian audience as well as with audiences in Europe. For example, one of the most famous Blues places in the country is Antone’s, owned by a Caucasian, Clifford Antone, who was a friend of Frank’s.
The bottom line is, we don’t care what color you are. If you love Tejano and Conjunto and want to see its Austin renaissance, we need you. They play Celtic music on KUT, for crying out loud. We even heard Yoko Ono’s greatest hits on KUT once (yeah…seriously…). We don’t think Tejano and Conjunto will kill their programming. Just sayin’.