Interview with Stevie Ray Vavages, San Antonio, Texas

Stevie Vavages grew up in Anegam, Tohono O’odham Nation on the Arizona/Mexico border. He comes from a musical family. His grandfather used to play with a group of old-time fiddlers called Gu-achi fiddlers that played Waila music—Waila being the term Tohono O’odham indigenous people use for their instrumental music. His father and uncle were musicians as well: “My uncle taught me for a month and after that month of practicing bajo sexto I had my first gig,” Stevie says. He moved to San Antonio, Texas, in 2017 to fulfill his dream of making a living playing Tejano conjunto music. His big surprise was to realize that many of the music the Tejano conjuntos were playing was music that he has learned from his grandfather. That and the realization of playing with musicians he grew up admiring. Stevie is a very talented bajo sexto player and superb musician who also plays accordion, bass, and drums. He has become a fixture in San Antonio’s Tex-Mex music scene and plays with artists such as Bobby Pulido, Belén Escobedo, and Flavio Longoria to say a few. He feels rooted into the community.
Interviewed by Raquel Paraíso, 09/14/2020.