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Peter Santillano Rises Out of the Ashes
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Peter Santillano - Photo by Ramon Hernandez
(Peter Santillano is not a well known name in Tex-Mex circles but he has a storied past as documented in this report by Ramon Hernandez.)

Peter Santillano might be a late bloomer, but the wait may well be worth it.
The Hondo, Texas-native has been singing since 1954. However, it was not until fifty years later that he recorded his first compact disc, “Caminos Chuecos.”
 
“It’s something I recorded at Max Baca’s tudio for me and my grandkids (Abel Peter, Josiah Cephas, Tresbella Novel and Trinity Jolene),” Santillano said during an 
interview at Moses Garza’s recording studio. “I didn’t promote it after it was manufactured. I just took it home and that was it.”
 
The truth is that he recorded “Cuatro Velas” with Jay García in 1998, but he’s not counting that project which included Candy García, accordion; Kike Esquivel, guitar; Henry Galván, bass; and Roger Caballero on drums.
 
The 62-year-old vocalist says he was initially influenced by his uncles, who all played bajo sexto and guitar. “However, Uncle Pedro De León of Los Aguilas, who played accordion and sang, was my primary inspiration. That conjunto included Efrain Escamilla, bajo sexto; and Agustine Rodríguez on sax.
 
“Everything they played, I learned on guitar by looking at where they placed their fingers on the guitar. And I learned to play on my cousin, Rosalio De León’s bajo sexto after I removed six of its strings. I never mastered it, but I knew enough to later join El Mariachi de Ramón Villa and Mariachi Los Escamilla, both local mariachis.
 
Santillano was twenty-one when he finally joined his uncle’s group, which included David Cortinas and Gilbert Villarreal. And in 1965, they, plus Candy Santillano on drums, formed The Skylanders, a 


 

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