(To buy Antonia's CD: RECUERDOS EN ROCIADA or to find the words and some translations of her songs go to our General Store and click on the CD name.)
Antonia Apodaca was born in 1923 in Rociada, New Mexico in the house in which she lived until her house burned down on Dec 20, 20120. (See Below) Her parents, Jose Damacio Martinez and Rafaelita Suazo Martinez were both musicians and both came from families of musicians in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Her father played guitar, violin and accordion and her mother played guitar and accordion. At this time the accordion was very seldom seen in this part of New Mexico, violin and guitar being the main instruments for the dances. Antonia Apodaca’s paternal grandfather also played accordion. They played mostly for small community funcions such as saints days, weddings, and christenings as well as in local dance halls and in people’s homes. When Sra. Apodaca was thirteen years old she decided to learn the accordion and, not being allowed to touch her parents’ accordion, she recovered an old one from the trash that had a hole in the bellows. She stuck paper and rags in the hole to try to play but, of course, these all blew out when she worked the bellows. Her solution was to stick her ‘skinny knee’ into the hole, which allowed her to figure out how to play ‘My Darling Clementine’. Her parents overheard her and at first were furious because they though she had the new accordion but they were happy and tearful to find that she had learned on the old broken one. The next day they went into Las Vegas, NM to get her a new accordion. She had to promise to enter the accordion contest in distant Santa Fe, NM at the La Fonda Hotel only seven months in the future. She entered against all of the adults and won the first place and the fifty dollar prize, which was used to buy much needed groceries for the family. When she was eighteen she met a fiddler from Mora, NM, named Maximilian Apodaca, who asked to play with her parents band. Within two months they were married. In 1943 they went to Wyoming to top beets, finally moving there fulltime in 1949. They lived and played in Wyoming for dances and local events for both Hispanic and the cowboy community and learned how to change the old polkas and waltzes into a western rhythm when they played for the anglos. In 1979 they returned to Rociada and moved into the house that Antonia was born in. They started playing locally and ended up becoming known all over New Mexico for playing the old music. In Dec. 1987, Max died. Antonia quit playing for a year until Jeanie and Cleofes Ortiz visited her and convinced her to continue to play. She also composes many songs herself about her life in New Mexico which she has added to her repertoire of older traditional songs. Besides her old style of accordion playing she is a very accomplished guitarist. She was awarded the Governor's award for Excellence in the Arts in 1992 She has continued to play, often with Ken and Jeanie, and has performed with them and Cleofes Ortiz at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1992 as well as at many other venues in the western USA.
On Dec. 20th, 2010, Antonia's house in Rociada, El Ranchito de las Flores, burned down completely, while she was cooking her breakfast of eggs, chicharrones and Jalepeño peppers. A gale force wind had blown down her chimney/stovepipe and had set the roof and the kithcen on fire. The fire grew so quickly that she was only able to grab her two accordions and her guitar. But her family and friends are rallying around her and she will never quite playing her music.
She has never been to a doctor in her life and she says "Why do I need to go to the doctor when I already have Dr. Red and Dr. Green (chiles)."
“My mother, Rafaelita Suazo Martínez, learned accordion from my father, Jose Damacio Martínez; my father learned accordion from his father, Canuto Martínez. My mother learned to play the guitar from her father, Abrán Suazo. She then taught my father the guitar. They had a nice small band which they enjoyed very much.”
Antonia Martínez Apodaca
“Since the release of Recuerdos de Rociada, my mother, Antonia Apodaca, has continued to perform regionally in New México, Texas,
Wyoming and Colorado. She continues to perform with Bayou Seco and also with Trio Jalapeño de Antonia Apodaca. She has performed at festivals and venues such as the Chamizal Border Folk Festivals, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Globalquerque International Music Festivals, Boulder Colorado Folk Festivals and numerous festivals in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Festival of American Fiddle tunes in Port Townsend, WA. She has performed along with legendary artists such as “Los Lobos,” and acclaimed accordionist Flaco Jiménez and Santiago Jiménez Jr. She continues to perform regularly at venues such as the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. She has won numerous awards since 1994 and is considered a living legend of New Mexico.”
“My music is dedicated in memory of my parents, Rafaelita Suazo Martínez & José Damacio Martínez; to my late husband
Macario “Max” Apodaca;
to my four sons, Max Jr., Willie, José, & Ramon;
to my daughter Isabelle;
and to my uncle, Adolfo Chávez.”
Bayou Seco and the National Hispanic Cultural Center
A Tribute to Antonia Apodaca
(Antonia’s Photo here)
FEATURING ANTONIA APODACA with
Bayou Seco, Trio Jalapeno, José and Max Apodaca
Chuy Martinez and Otilio Ruiz!
Sunday February 20, 2011; 2 PM
National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque Journal Theatre
1701 4th Street SW, Albuquerque, NM
$10- $50 (sliding scale) & $5 for children
For tickets & Information call (505) 724-4771
or visit our website