In an eerie, surrealistic dream about this drummer, he is laid out on an autopsy slab and sliced open by a medical examiner. Music pours out of his insides instead of gruesome guts. All kinds of music, too: jazz, blues, country, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and of course Tex-Mex. "This guy must be from Austin," the medical examiner mutters, revealing his astute knowledge of the American music scene which is hopefully matched by his cutting skills.

Actually, Ernie Durawa was born in San Antonio, but he has been a major player on the Austin music scene for decades. His ability to totally transcend stylistic barriers has made him an important part of various bands that do the same thing, most notably the all-star Texas Tornados featuring his life-long friend Doug Sahm as well as country and western legend Freddy Fender and Tex Mex maestro Flaco Jimenez. Durawa was also the drummer for the unique singer and bandleader Delbert McClinton for a long bluesy stretch which ended in 1981.

Durawa's influences coming up in San Antonio were an incredibly lively mix of all the previously mentioned styles. As a drummer he was taking in the art of various rhythm and blues backbeats as well as the profound rhythmic inventions of bebop masters such as Max Roach. The drummer has seemingly pushed jazz further and further to the front in his list of priorities as the years go on, a welcome development on a music scene that seems to welcome jazz elements but garners much more notoriety from the more commercially-friendly, butt-shaking sounds of rock and roll and rhythm and blues.

As a so-called professional, the drummer's introduction to the Texas music scene came in the mid '70s when he returned to the area after living in Chicago. Durawa recalls his first pay from a gig with T-Pee Tom and the Southside Band, a grand total of three bucks. Durawa had developed an intense love of playing drums as a child, however, growing into this interest with a fervor that certainly helped in setting aside the pay issue as a minor problem. He was born Ernesto Saldaña on the west side of San Antonio, his mother dying when he was only a year old. At 10 he was adopted by his aunt, the source of the surname Durawa. His adopted parents were the managers of a small bar which booked Mexican conjunto; one of these bandleaders handed the lad a set of a maracas one night. Seventy five dollars later, Durawa had his own set of tubs.

Durawa missed the period of Doug Sahm's career where the the latter bandleader took his Sir Douglas Quintet up to Haight-Ashbury, but the two players had known each other since they were teenagers in San Antonio. The drummer gigged in groups such as Charlie and the Jives and the Dell-Kings. After passing up Sahm's California trip in favor of continuing a local jazz gig, Durawa went to Chicago and spent years studying fundamentals with the great Roy C. Knapp, in his '80s at the time.

Johnny Perez, one of Durawa's drumming pals from San Antonio, initially took the Sir Douglas Quintet gig. Durawa's grand collaboration with Sahm, the Texas Tornados, came about in 1989. The group enjoyed several hit country singles including "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone?" and won a Grammy. Sahm's death in 1999 concluded this wonderful chapter in Tex Mex music. Durawa's jazz activities in Austin seemed to expand at this point, creative waters rushing in to fill the gap left by such an irreplaceable musical force. The combo Los Jazz Vatos was formed circa 2000 with players such as trumpeter Jimmy Shortell and bassist Brad Taylor and eventually began releasing recordings. Durawa is also involved with the Austin Jazz WorkshopJohnny Nicholas' Texas All-Stars, the South Austin Marimba Band and the National Guitar Workshop summer music camps.

- Eugene Chadbourne

Durawa Facebook

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  • Saturday Night Live
  • Nashville Now
  • Solid Gold
  • Midnight Hour
  • Swedish Television Network
  • Austin City Limits
  • Dennis Miller Show
  • On Stage
  • Night Flight


"Rich Minus II," "Rich Minus III," New Rose 1993/94
"Burl Wilkerson" The Invisible Man
"Curame" Mary Welch Y Los Curanderos
"KR Wood's "Los Tejanos" The Alamo
"Bein Green" Dena Taylor


Grammy Award Participant - Texas Tornados
1995 - Grammy Award Participant - Flaco Jimenez
1986 - Dutch Country Music Grammy Awards - Texas Tornados
1986 - Texas Tornado Hall of Fame
1984 - Ambassador of Goodwill - San Antonio
...Doug Sahm Day
March 15, 2001 - Honorary Proclamation to the members of The Texas Tornados band by the Texas House of Representatives, The Texas Senate, and Governor Rick Perry
Ernie Durawa Day Feb 3, 2005 Proclamation by Mayor Will Wynn
Texas Music Hall of Fame
Los Jazz Vatos Best Jazz Band, Austin Chronicle Awards 2004
Inducted into the Texas Music History Archives / Texas State University @ San Marcos, Tx
The Norwegian Gold Disc Scandinavian Years Sir Douglas Quintet Oslo 2008
Texas Legacy Music Award
Ernie Durawa- Hall of Fame Drummer 2013 Honoree
Center for Texas Music History (Texas State University) acknowledging Ernie’s remarkable career and his important role in shaping Texas music. 2016
Recognized by Governor Greg Abbott for his years of musical excellence 2017
Mayor Steve Adler declared December 4, 2017 as Ernie Durawa’s 75th Birthday


1972 - 75 - Roy C. Knapp, Chicago, Illinois


  • Private Instructor- Austin, TX - 1990 - Present
  • SW Guitar Conservator, San Antonio, TX - 1978
  • Leander High School, Leander, TX - 1977
  • Bowlby Music, Rock Island, IL - 1966-67 National Guitar Workshop, Austin, TX
  • Brook Mays Music
  • SW Guitar Conservative: National Guitar Workshop


Threadgills Restaurants
Don't Mess With Texas
Miller Lite
Austin Energy
Barn Satellite Network (Canadian TV)
Tony Sanchez for Governor TV Jingle
Twin Liquors


"Beverly Hillbillies" Soundtrack, 1993
"Jack" Soundtrack, 1994
"Blank Check" 1993
"Still Breathing" Soundtrack, 1997
"A Documentary the Movie" Soundtrack, 2000
"Boys Don't Cry" Soundtrack, 2000
"Certain Guys" Soundtrack, 1999
"Circus Of The Dead". Soundtrack. Drums & Sound effects, 2014
Sir Doug & the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove (2015) - Rock Documentary HD
"Cisco Pike” Soundtrack


Innovative Percussion

Paiste Cymbals


Rhythm Tech


Diana Rowehl, Flatlander Records
"Aces" Texas Tornados, Warner/Reprise, 1996
"The Son Sessions" Son Geezinslaw, 1998
"Hightower Boogie Woogie" Floyd Domino, 1997
"Down in Texas" Don McCalister, 1997
"Cullen Offer" Cullen Offer, Strike Up The Band, 1996
"Tejano Country Christmas" Arista Texas, 1994
"Rich Minus" New Rose, 1994
Best of the Texas Tornados, Warner/Reprise, 1993
"Beverly Hillbillies" Soundtack, RCA, 1993
"Clifford Scott" New Rose, 1992
"Zone of Our Own" Texas Tornados, Reprise, 1991
"Texas Tornados" Texas Tornados, Reprise, 1990
"Clear Night for Love" Roky Erickson, New Rose, 1985
"Luv Ya Europa" Sir Douglas Quintet, Sonet, 1984
"Rio Medina " Sir Douglas Quintet, Sonet, 1984
"Charlie Day" Charlie Day, HWD Records, 1984
"The West Side Sound Rolls Again" Sir Douglas Quintet, Sonet, 1983
"Carl Hutchins" Carl Hutchins, 1982
"Plain From The Heart" Delbert McClinton, Capitol, 1981
"Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam #7" Epic, 1981
"Joe King Carrasco" Joe King Carrasco, 1978
"Michoacan" Cisco Pike Soundtrack, 1969
"1969 Texas Jazz Festival" Clark Terry, 1969
"Whatever the Jungle" Eric Dahl
"Yo Soy Mexicano de Todos Lados" Lucha Villa, WEA Latina, 1991
"The Moon in the Man" Joe Blanda, 1998
"Unforgettable" Merle Haggard
"Talk to My Heart" Johnny Bush, Watermelon Records, 1998
"Don't Matter What" Rick Stockton, Highwater, 1995
"The Texas Reunion" Don Keeling, 1999
"Memories" Charlie and The Jives, 1961
"Live From The Limo" Texas Tornados, 1999
"Blessing Indie Skies" Natalie Withers
"Rockin' My Blues To Sleep" Johnny Nicholas & the Texas All-Stars
"The Best Thing for you Would Be The Cullen Offer Quartet"
The Cullen Offer Quartet
"The Blue Album" Janine Wilson
"Thing About Trains" Eric Hisaw
"Take to the Sky" Austin Jazz Workshop
"Austin Songs "Bobbi Benton and George Knaak
"Judy Alpert Jazz Recording"
"Texas Sessions" Dr. Eugene Chadbourne, Boxholder Records
"Visions of You" Mary Welch, South Congress Records
"Texas Rain" Townes Van Zandt, Tomato Records
"Stand Your Ground" John Arthur Martinez
"Basin Street Stomp" Austin Jazz Workshop
"Javier Chaparro" Jazz Violin
"Jazzland" Maryann Price
"OK! Lets Play!" Speedy Sparks
"Los Tejanos" KR Wood, Alamo Production
"Los Jazz Vatos"
"Traci Lamar"
"Signpost of Destiny" Todd Rusch, Nomadic Records
"Green Cake" Roxie Williams
"Get A Life" Doug Sahm
"Deep in the Heart of Texas" Doug Sahm/Augie Meyers
"Deep East Texas Blues" Frank Robinson
"Flaco Jimenez" Flaco Jimenez, Arista Texas
"Hangin' On By A Thread" Texas Tornados
"Mr. Honky Tonk Is Back In Town" Clifford Scott
"Best of Mountain Stage Live, Vol. 3" Texas Tornados
"Best of Doug Sahm" Rhino Records, 1968-1975
"Texas Tornados" Texas Tornados
"Texas Tornados" (Spanish Version)
"Taylor, Texas" Ray Campi
"Terry Bowness" Terry Bowness, Aardvark Records, 1999
"The Time Travelers" 709-a
"Bart" Bart Bryant
"The Diet Song/Wastin' Away Again At The Bermuda Inn" Tamara Scalise
"Faded Blue" Mike Blakely, Swing Rider Records
"Burl Wilkerson" The Invisible Man
"Debbi Walton" Come On
"Curame" Mary Welch Y los Curanderos
"Anything Goes" Austin Jazz Workshop
"Once A Night" Michele Murphy
"Texan Gentleman" Rich Minus
"What The Hey" Howard Kalish
"Livin' with the Blues" Johnny Nicholas
"Big Band Bash" Johnny Nicholas
"Live from Austin, Tx" Texas Tornados, Austin City Limits, 1990
"Big Boss Tenor" Austin Jazz Workshop
"Complete Mercury Masters" Sir Douglas Quintet
"Return Of The Formerly Brothers"
Amos Garrett, Doug Sahm & Gene Taylor
"I Have Always Been Here Before" Roky Erickson Anthology

SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman - Credits - allgame
Scandinavian Years Sir Douglas Quintet Universal Records
Sinners & Saints "Superstar" Raul Malo Concord Records
Herb Ellis. Detour Ahead. DVD
Matt Smith's World- Matt Smith
Heart Of The Sunrise--Mike Thomas
Live at Montreux 91--Texas Tornados
Don't mess with Austin Compilation-New Rose Records/ France
Rich Minus III -New Rose Records/France
Christmas Cool- Ruben Ramos
Texas Music Extravaganza DVD
One More Angel----Gatling & Hoffauir

Live By Your Word- ----Eric Dahl
Bein Green---Dena Taylor
Future Blues----Johnny Nicholas/ Jimmy Vaughn
"I want to be happy" Sebastian Campesi & Ernie Durawa Trio
"Dancing me Home" artist Jim Stricklan
"Regeneration" by Terry Bowness
"Jammin with J.R." J.R. Chatwell ,Doug Sahm & Willie Nelson
The Fandangos...Augie Meyers T Gozney Thornton Jimmy Butler
Holiday HAAM JAM Tamale Christmas Joe King Carrasco & El Molino
Tlaquepaque Joe King Carrasco & El Molino
"Rucca"   Joe King Carrasco
" Vaya La Playa"  Robert Patterson
"Bitter Wine"   Arvel Stricklin
"Real" Michael Hardy
"Restless Mind" Murali Coryell
"El Jefe" Los Jazz Vatos
Beat Root Revival
Certitude..Dena Taylor artist
The Nearness Of You Dena Taylor artist
You've Changed Dena Taylor Artist
"Jericho " Jeff Lofton
"Mr. Senator" Murali Coryell
"Lovely Night" Aaron Lack's VibeTet
"Return of the Hurd" K R Wood
"Cool Cat' Paul Oscher
"Candy Kisses" Augie Meyers
“Made in Texas” Murali Coryell
“I’d do anything for you” Matt Smith
"For the love of Western Swing” John Arthur Martinez
“Cool Cat” Paul Oscher
"I'd Do Anything For You" Matthew Smith
"Slipping Down South" Tom Sperry
"God Is Watching Over You" Matthew Smith
“Down in Texas" Don McCalister
"Live at The Saxon Pub" Matt Smith’s World
"Being Human" Matt Smith
"Big Pachgangas" Michael Shane Borden
"Wasted in Waco" Michael Shane Borden
"Better Of" Thierry Le Coz
"Somebody" Tommy McClain
"Odes & Roads" Mailman Bob


  • Texas Tornados
  • Delbert McClinton
  • Willie Nelson
  • Austin Klezmorim
  • Lee Roy Parnell
  • Willie Dixon
  • Freddy Fender
  • Rufus Reid
  • Harry Dean Stanton
  • Johnny Gimble
  • Joe King Carrasco
  • Jack Carter
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Roger Pemberton
  • Bonnie Bramlett
  • George Gobel
  • Tiny Tim
  • Les Elgart Orchestra
  • Buddy Emmons
  • Curly Chauker
  • Herb Ellis
  • Hank Thompson
  • Austin Jazz Band
  • Clifford Scott
  • Pat Martino
  • Rusty Warren
  • Floyd Domino
  • Long John Hunter
  • Tony Campise
  • US Army Band
  • Jimmy Day
  • Dennis Quaid
  • Austin Jazz Workshop
  • Johnny Bush
  • Marcia Ball
  • Stephen Bruton
  • Wesley United Intergeneration Choir
  • WC Clark
  • Charlie Byrd
  • Doug Sahm
  • Flaco Jimenez
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Roky Erickson
  • Terry McBride
  • Robben Ford
  • Pinetop Perkins
  • Jackie King
  • Joe Turner
  • John Belushi
  • Clark Terry
  • Gatemouth Brown
  • Wanda Jackson
  • Myron Cohen
  • Dick Judson
  • Milt Buckner
  • Helen O'Connell
  • Albert Collins
  • Augie Meyers
  • Esther's Follies
  • Don Walser
  • Larry Coryell
  • Ike Cole
  • Don McCalistor
  • Los Jazz Vatos
  • Dr. John
  • The legendary Tipi Tom and the Southside Band
  • Johnny Nicholas
  • Matt Smith
  • Brian Mitchell
  • New York Monsters
  • Harold Bradley
  • Murali Coryell
  • Larry Campbell
  • Sonny Landreth @ NGW
  • Duke Robillard @ NGW
  • John Peyton
  • The Mighty 590 KLBJ All Stars
  • Jimmy Bruno-Jazz Guitarist
  • Elvin Bishop @ NGW
  • Elvis Costello
  • Bill Kirchen
  • Ian Mclagan
  • Omar & The Howlers
  • Jimmy Vaughn

....and more to come!!!!