Celebrate Conjunto Artist Eva Ybarra for Her Recent NEA National Heritage Fellowship
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center welcomes La Reina del Acordeón, Eva Ybarra, back to San Antonio after her recent trip to Washington D.C. where she was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts with the 2017 National Heritage Fellowship. This is the nation’s highest honor in the folk & traditional arts. A public reception will take place on Thursday, October 26, 2017, at 6:00pm in the historic Guadalupe Theater.
Eva joins four other San Antonio artists to the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship award stage including clay artist Veronica Castillo (2013); accordionist Flaco Jimenez (2012); his brother accordionist Santiago Jimenez Jr. (2000); and accordionist Mingo Saldivar (2002). The free event will feature commendations from government officials and excerpts of the play based on her life, La Reina del Acordeón” by Joel Settles. The evening commences with a light dinner and ends with a performance by Eva Ybarra y su Conjunto.
The event is hosted by Trinity University Latino/a studies professor, Dr. Norma Cantu, and Juan Tejeda who originally nominated Eva for the award. “I can think of no one more deserving to receive this National Heritage Fellowship Award than Eva Ybarra. She is without a doubt one of the greats in the history of Conjunto/Tejano music,” said Tejeda.
Eva Ybarra, the “Queen of the Accordion,” is one of only a few professional women accordionists in Conjunto music. Born on San Antonio’s westside, Eva was one of nine children in a musical family. She took piano lessons on her mother’s encouragement while her father also urged her to take up the accordion at age four. She taught herself by listening to the radio, old LPs, and her older brother. By age six, Ybarra’s parents were taking her to perform in venues around San Antonio. When she was 14 years old, Eva was discovered while performing with her brother, Pedro, and received a record deal with Rosina Records in San Marcos, Texas. Since that first big break, she has performed and recorded many albums with her band, Eva Ybarra y Su Conjunto. Currently, Eva resides on the southside of San Antonio, performs with her band, and teaches accordion on Monday nights at the Guadalupe.