Ricardo Cabrera saw his first accordion when he was just seven years old. At the the Conjunto Festival in San Antonio, he went into a music store that sold accordions. He picked up a red one and started playing. People liked it.

When he was nine-and-a-half years old, he saw the Black Panther at a local Guitar Center. Not to be confused with the superhero, this black accordion has taken him all the way to the finals at a youth accordion showcase called the Big Squeeze. He played polkas, norteños, and Tejano. He says it’s all about how you play, how you dress, and how you smile.

“You gotta smile,” he says. “That’s how you win the Big Squeeze. You gotta move your body like you’re dancing.”

The 2018 Big Squeeze Statewide Accordion Contest Finals and Concert will be held on Saturday, April 21, from 1:00-5:00 p.m. at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

Written by Jeremy Steen.

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