Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival Artist Spotlight: Conjunto Cats

The Conjunto Cats are a powerhouse ensemble based out of Seguin, Texas. Bandleader, Art Conjunto Cats Campos, began pursuing music since the age of 10. He learned the basics with assistance and was off to the races on his own after that. Young Art realized early on that his ear for music needed to improve. His patience, persistence, and passion for music led him to become the musician he is today.

Art initially tried his hand at the drums for about 5 to 6 years before transitioning to the bajo sexto. His love for the instrument has stood the test of time as he's been playing the bajo sexto for over 25 years. He is a self-taught vocalist and continues to challenge himself to become a better musician.

Conjunto Cats is a family affair as Art's two boys and stepbrother are also in the group. Art's 14-year-old son, Zeke, first picked up the accordion at 9 years old. Much like his father, Zeke learned the basics of the accordion through assistance and developed into a formidable musician on his own. Zeke also plays the bajo sexto. Exhibiting a natural knack for music, he memorized "Folsum Prison Blues" word for word at 5 years old. Zeke began playing bajo sexto for Conjunto Tres at the age of 9. After playing professionally for about a year, he came on board full time with the Conjunto Cats.

Zeke has recently been joined by his 13-year-old brother, Diego. While still learning to ropes, Diego isn't one to shy away from showing the crowd what he's learned on the drums and bass guitar. He also shadows his family at events. Diego often lends a helping hand to set up and breakdown equipment when needed.

Although no blood relation exists between Art and Jeremy, their bond is unbreakable. Jeremy Saenz is Art's stepbrother and drummer for the Conjunto Cats. He's been with the group since day one. He brings to the table his background performing música norteña.

Rounding out the lineup is bassist, Gil Casarez. Casarez initially sat in with the group before permanently coming on board. He's been with the group for 4 years and counting.

The group's musical influences include, but are not limited to: Los Relampagos del Norte, Ramon Ayala, Intocable, "El Alacran" Angel Flores, Ruben Vela, Valerio Longoria, Los Dos Gilbertos, Juan P. Moreno, and Jaime y los Chamacos. The Conjunto Cats are currently working on their new CD slated for release this summer. The album will include several new originals including an original polka composed by Zeke.

Zeke and Art will be playing an old-school set at the Music Lab St. Elmo on May the 20th for Microsessions! Visit the Microsessions website for more information.

Making a return to the Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival, the Conjunto Cats will be performing live Sunday, May 7th at Stubb's Austin!

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