Skip to main content

Flaco Jiménez

World-renowned Tejano performer Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez is still making music at 84, though he’ll admit he’s slowed down a bit.

Picture of Flaco Jiménez

“If I ever need attention, I know WellMed is always available.”

A beloved San Antonio icon, and a WellMed patient and ambassador, Flaco still draws a crowd wherever he appears. That’s not surprising considering his name recognition, talent and long history in music.

Flaco was born into a musical family. His grandfather played polkas and waltzes on the accordion. His father Santiago Jiménez Sr. is often called the “father of conjunto,” and recorded what is considered one of the first conjunto records in 1936, a danceable fusion of Mexican, European and American song styles.

Flaco taught himself to play the bajo sexto, a 12-string Mexican guitar, and learned to play accordion by watching his father. By age 8, he was performing with his father in public; at 15, he started his own band, Los Caminantes, playing across Texas as one of the most popular conjunto dance bands of the time

His inclination to cross music genres led Flaco to perform with a who’s who of musical artists, including Buck Owens, Dwight Yoakam, Ry Cooder, Carols Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Dylan, The Mavericks and the Rolling Stones. Willie Nelson considers him a friend and peer.

Through his collaboration with the late Doug Sahm, Flaco teamed up with with Bob Dylan and Dr. John in New York. He later joined Sahm, Augie Meyers and Freddy Fender, as one of the Texas Tornados. He is also a founding member of Los Super Seven with Fender, Joe Ely, Ruben Ramos, Rick Trevino, and Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos.

Flaco has performed all over the world. He has six Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, and multiple honors from the Tejano Music Awards, Billboard magazine and the Americana Music Association. He is also a 2012 recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Just last year, his 1992 album “Partners” was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

Flaco says he feels lucky he’s in such good health. He continues to perform and make public appearances, including for WellMed. One of the reasons he represents WellMed is because of the health care he receives. “If I ever need attention, I know WellMed is always available.”