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Norteño music veteran Tony de la Rosa was one of the first bandleaders to add drums and amplification to the tradition-bound conjunto style. De la Rosa was born in 1931 in Sarita, Texas, and began playing a double-row squeezebox accordion at the age of 11. He founded a conjunto band in the mid-'50s, but later added electric bass, 12-string guitar, and drums. This innovation sparked a new form, called tacuachito. After a long semi-retirement, he re-emerged with his no-frills Tex-Mex sound intact, applying his accordion to the ever-popular polkas and rancheras of the Texas border. In June of 2004, de la Rosa died of complications from heart surgery. He was 72 years old. ~ Myles Boisen