By DAVID LOPEZ
Frank “Panchito” Hernandez has entertained fans of conjunto and musica regional with his bajo sexto skills and soulful singing for the past 30 years.
Hernandez currently works full-time as a security guard at Berta Cabaza middle school and resides in San Benito. Still, outside of work, he’s known for his musical skills and talents.
His latest work with Ruben De La Cruz Y Su Conjunto on their album Me Enamore Otra Vez was released in February 2020.
In total, he’s worked on about 18 albums with De La Cruz since 1999. He has written close to 100 songs about his life and the perspectives of others.
“I used to be married, so I wrote about whatever I felt: the separation, the love I had, ‘now she’s not there, I’m over here, but it still hurts.’ And if it’s not from me, I have friends who tell me what’s going on with their life, saying, ‘Me andan dejando.’ I try to put myself in their shoes.”
Hernandez played the bajo since he was 17 about to graduate from San Benito High in 1991.
However, he was born in Dade City, Florida, in 1973, as his parents were migrant workers. They traveled back and forth from Florida and Texas.
He has played with big names like Ruben Vela, Enrique “Flaco” Naranjo, Los Estrellas De Oro, Frutty Villarreal, and others.
According to tejanonation.net, Hernandez was the 2012 South Texas Conjunto Association winner of Bajo player of the year and 2018 Composer of the year.
Lastly, Hernandez offers advice to young people seeking to pursue conjunto music.
“The only thing I can tell the kids who love conjunto is to really learn the conjunto style; they may want to copy the old style, but eventually they’ll change to their style,” he said. “Also, graduate and get your education.”
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