With a career that spans over five decades, Saldivar has grown to be one of the most dynamic and electrifying accordionists today. His is considered not only a pioneer, but a legend in Conjunto music. At the age of 66, Saldivar was awarded our nations highest honor. In September of 2002, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Mingo the National Heritage Fellowship. An award that recognizes individuals for their lifetime achievement, artistic excellence and contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage.
Known to his fans as 'The Dancing Cowboy', Saldivar is now considered a National Treasure for his contributions through his music and song writing. Born in Marion, Texas a small community just Northeast of San Antonio, Saldivar was introduced to music by his father Jesus Saldivar and mother Pauline Saldivar. At the age of 11 Saldivar began learning the guitar, taught to him by his father. In time and after mastering several different instruments, including the upright bass, Saldivar found his talent to be with the button accordion.
After spending sometime in the army as a paratrooper, Saldivar was introduced to the sound of country music and rhythm and blues, which today you can hear how he has incorporated it into his unique style of playing. After leaving the army, Saldivar played with different conjunto bands, including Los Guadalupanos. In 1964, Saldivar took his family to Anchorage, Alaska where he opened up a Mexican restaurant and created the only Conjunto band in the area.
In 1971, Saldivar came back to his native San Antonio, where in 1975 started his own group known today as Mingo Saldivar Y Los Tremendous Cuatro Espadas. In recent years Saldivar has played at such venues as President Clinton's First Inaugural Gala, the 1996 Olympics, Carnegie Hall, and a 5 week USIA tour of Africa and the Near Middle East. Saldivar is an Ambassador of Hispanic culture and tradition, sending his message through every note played on his accordion.
"Mr. Saldivar's love of country music is apparent in both the Johnny Cash tribute La Ulitma Milla (Folsom Prison Blues) and Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" built around another trademark of Mr. Saldivar's the unlikely combination of harmonica and accordion is a gumbo of influences typical of this fine effort…The Marion TX native's strength has always been an energetic presentation that's a hybrid of Anglo and Mexican cultures. It's a brilliant combination"
-Matt Weitz/ The Dallas Morning News
"Mr. Saldivar and his group played with rollicking vivacity that at its most frolicsome moment suggested a country polka band."
CARNEGIE FESTIVAL: BLUEGRASS AND ROCKABILLY FINALE
-Stephen Holden /New York Times
Mingo Saldivar is a powerful, dynamic performer who puts every ounce of energy out to his audiences. He hangs his accordion below his waist, and once he gets into his music, Mingo puts on a show not to be forgotten."
-NEED TO FIND ORIGINAL ARTICLE FOR CREDITS
"In 1995, Mingo Saldivar and his band mounted a tour of African and Middle Eastern nations sponsored by the U.S Information Agency. By the late 1990's Saldivar was enjoying great popularity in northern Mexico playing rodeo arenas where (his surprisingly youthful) fans created a dance craze call "Mingomania". His success in Mexico was fueled by a radio and dance club hit of his rendition of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"- a song that continues to be Mingo's trademark ending to his high-energy performances… Today Saldivar remains bus touring and is currently celebrating two of the most important accolades of his career. By his estimate, the band has released 20 plus albums including thirteen on his own Espada label. He also recorded with Little Joe Hernandez and Willie Nelson on their bilingual duet, Marie."
-The Library of Congress
"One of the most innovative and versatile accordionists in Tejano Conjunto history, Mingo Saldivar is unmatched in his exuberant playing style"
-Texas Folklife Resources Guide Book
TEJANO SHAKES WALLS OF JERICHO
"Mingo Saldivar performed for audiences in six countries on a month long tour...Jericho self-rule area- the plaintive cry of the muezzin rings out in the still night to call worshippers to prayer. But this is no ordinary night in the dawn of fledgling Palestine: Mingo Saldivar Y sus Tremendos Cuatro Espadas are in town and Jericho is enjoying its first taste of "Tex-Mex"… Ed Abington, U.S. consul-general in Jerusalem, said he was delighted that Saldivar was one of three American musical ensembles to play in the past three weeks before Palestinian audiences. "It's a very healthy development."…Their six-country , one month tour has taken Saldivar and his band to Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkina Faso in Africa; Syria, Jordan and Palestine. They also played one West Jerusalem date. "
-Peter Shaw-Smith/San Antonio Express News
THE DANCING COWBOY SPINS ACROSS THE SCREEN
"If there is anybody the wireless microphone was made for it is Mingo Saldivar…Known as "The Dancing Cowboy" the 65 year old Conjunto legend is in almost constant motion on stage as his fingers fly across the buttons of his accordion…Saldivar will travel to Washington DC to receive a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. After 40 years as a musician and almost 40 albums, Saldivar is now to be considered a National Treasure. "
-Bruce Lee Smith /The Brownsville Herald
GENUINE TEXAS HERO
"Mingo Saldivar is one of those legendary accordion players from South Texas who made a big name for himself. He fused country and conjunto for a new spirit that stands alone. This is one of his finest CDs ever. According to writer Ramiro Burr in his definitive 'Billboard Guide to Tejano and regional Mexican Music', Saldivar 'became known for his energetic stage show, where he would hang his accordion at waist level, while swinging, dancing and singing.' Indeed, he is still a dynamo on stage, outperforming many young artists half his age."
-Tony Ramon Amazon.com