A career than spans over four decades, Saldivar has grown to be one of the most dynamic and electrifying accordionist today. He 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 with the National Heritage Fellowship Award. 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. 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, 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 own 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 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.