Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival Artist Spotlight: Chano Cadena y Su Conjunto

Chano Cadena was born on October 31, 1937 on a little ranch near Palito Blanco just south of Alice, Texas. Since 1954, Chano has been delighting crowds all over the state and beyond with his lively music.

He was first inspired by his older brother, José, to pick up the accordion around the age of 10. Chano's first squeezebox was just a little toy.Recognizing his son's potential, his father, Don Ignacio Cadena, saved up enough to purchase Chano's first Hohner accordion. Soon after, Chano began playing for family and friends regularly. With his accordion packed in a pillowcase, Chano and his father would set off and walk from ranch to ranch to serenade the people.

While attending school in Alice, Chano formed his first conjunto. Chano's first recordings were commercial jingles for a department store recorded by Armando Marroquin.* Initially, Chano found steady work as a session musician under Mr. Marroquin's label. Soon after, Chano recorded his first record. For much of the 60s and 70s, Chano Cadena Y Su Conjunto traveled the music circuit all over Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida.

He has shared the stage with other conjunto greats such as Tony de la Rosa and Paulino Bernal. A few well-known conjunto musicians even got their start with Chano. Juan Sifuentes, Manuel Solis, and Ruben Naranjo were just a few names that cut their teeth touring with Chano. Perhaps the most notable line-up of Chano Cadena y su Conjunto came to fruition in the late 60s with the addition of vocal duo, Tonio Vasquez and Fidel Cavazos. Chano enjoyed much success in the 80s and 90s under the Canasta label out of Kingsville, Texas. Chano is a hall of famer many times over. He has been inducted into the Tejano R.O.O.T.S. Hall of Fame (Alice,TX; 2001), Tejano Conjunto Music Hall of Fame & Museum (San Benito,TX; 2007), and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Tejano Conjunto Hall of Fame (San Antonio, TX; 2013).

This legendary musician will be putting on a show you won't want to miss! Making a return to the Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival, Chano Cadena steals the show Friday, May 5th at Stubb's Austin!

*Armando Marroquin along with Paco Betancourt founded Ideal Records, a legendary recording label under which many of the Tejano and Conjunto greats released a plethora of notable records.

Listen to our interview with Chano Cadena, recorded in 2011.


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