HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — "I don't think I've ever sang this early," said Juan Tamez as he warmed up his band, Grupo Ligado.
Ligado is Spanish for united.
He’s the leader of the band, which plays a lot of Norteño music from Mexico and plenty of homegrown Tejano.
"It’s very important for the industry right now to keep Tejano alive and to keep that music going, it’s part of our culture," Tamez said.
On bass is Jimmy Garcia.
Felix Anzaldua is on the guitar called a bajo quinto.
Juan himself is on lead vocals and accordion and his son J.J. is on drums.
J.J. says music is in their blood.
"Since we all do music, my grandpa, my uncle, it kind of helps bring all the family together,” J.J. said.
Juan's wife of 20 years, Berre, is the band's manager.
They performed for us on their property in north Harris County. It’s the perfect place for band rehearsals.
But things here are so different today than they were in September of 2017.
The flooding from Hurricane Harvey destroyed their home and most of their instruments and band equipment.
“We took the family, took the passports, the most important things, and we left,” said J.J.
Then came the pandemic lockdowns.
For a band that once toured all over the U.S. and Mexico, it seemed like the music had died until a few months ago.
"We started playing a lot again and we're starting to tour,” said Juan. “What I like a lot is that my son is in the band now."
Young J.J. is also a college student studying to be an engineer.
But really, he's already an engineer...of accordions.
He repairs and tunes them.
The accordion is such an important part of the Tejano sound, going back generations.
Grupo Ligado is back in business keeping their musical Hispanic heritage alive.