Cojunto Blues


Conjunto Blues is an exploration of the social and historical conditions that led to the development of Conjunto music as an expression of cultural resistance and liberation. The play centers around playwright, actor, and musician Nicolás Valdez’s personal experience growing up in the Conjunto music scene and is loosely based on the relationship with his grandfather, himself a Conjunto music aficionado. Audiences are taken through a shifting landscape of memory and reflection that is highlighted with traditional music, historical imagery, and documentary footage featuring interviews of Conjunto musicians and influencers including the 2017 NEA National Heritage Fellow Eva Ybarra, Jesse Borrego Sr., Salvador “El Pavo” Garcia, and former Tejano Conjunto Festival Director, Juan Tejeda. Filled with a cast of colorfully poignant characters, Conjunto Blues is a show for audiences of all ages and backgrounds that is sure to entertain and educate.

“Valdez embodies a masterful candor as a performer, seamlessly transitioning between characters and time periods, owning each spirit so naturally, reflecting his having lived alongside the legends he emulates.” – Adam Tutor, Rivard Report

Conjunto Blues made its World Premier in April of 2013 in Denver, Colorado through the support of Su Teatro and by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Performance Network. A tour of Arizona in the fall of 2015 through collaborations with Borderlands Theater, Performance in the Borderlands, the Center for Leadership and the University of Arizona culminated in a performance at the historic FOX Theater in downtown Tucson.  The following year Conjunto Blues was presented at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts center as part of the 35th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival. After a year of further development with fellow actor and director Ruben C Gonzalez, Conjunto Blues participated in The Los Angeles Theater Company’s 2017 Encuentro de las Americas that featured three weeks of artistic exchange, cross-company co-creation, and presented performances, in repertory, for audiences in Los Angeles.

“Nicolás Valdez’s CONJUNTO BLUES, is an ethnographic tour de force of solo performance. Combining humanism, candor, and humor with incredible musicianship, CONJUNTO BLUES conveys an alternative story of American folk music that must be told.” Marc Pinate, Producing Director at Borderlands Theater