Harlingen street performer working his way to a career in music

Local News

Emiliano Santos Gamboa standing outside of the 99 cent story he plays in front of Thursday. Courtesy: KVEO

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – Every evening you can find Emiliano Santos Gamboa playing his accordion outside the 99 cent store in Harlingen.

Many opportunities have come his way in the two years that he been playing there and hopes his experience will amount to a full-time career in music.  

Emiliano Santos Gamboa is known for his skills. The 20-year-old uses his experience to solve automotive problems and break down accordion melodies.  

Courtesy: KVEO

“I like the instruments that are more complicated,” said Gamboa.  

Since around the age of 10, Gamboa homed in on his interests; he liked watching his family repair cars and recalls his father buying him his first accordion in downtown Brownsville.  

“I always told my mom and dad that I wanted to learn [how to play the accordion], next thing you know when me and my dad went, he saw it and he was like, ‘do you want one? So you can learn like your grandpa.’ because my grandpa used to play the accordion,” he said.  

Music was already in Gamboa’s blood, but he credits musicians like Ramon Ayala for the inspiration. He’s spent years practicing his craft, often staying up until four in the morning practicing.  

“What I really like about is the sound of it, and the music they make out of it,” explained Gamboa.  

Gamboa is turning his passion into his career, he currently plays with a band called Ramon Lucio y Conjunto Dominante and will be performing with them for the first time in April in Seguin, Texas.  

For the past two years, however, Gamboa earns money playing for people as they walk in and out of the 99 Cent Only Stores in Harlingen. You can spot him there almost every day after five, and he will usually stay until the store closes.  

He says he’s met countless people from it and often gets hired to both perform and fix vehicles.  

He’s spent so much time outside of the store, he has even helped some of the employees with their car troubles.  

“Every time someone comes by, I tell them I do put in transmissions motors, head work, bearings, breaks, and stuff like that,” he said. “They have hired me for birthday parties, private occasions, get-togethers, for funerals, roseries.”  

At the end of the day, Gamboa enjoys performing and knows the value of hard work. He is grateful for the support he’s gotten from his parents, teachers, and those who believe in him.  

“When I see people pass by and they have a smile on their face, it makes me really happy,” said Gamboa.  

Gamboa can be reached at (956) 620-5538, and his Facebook.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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