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Remembering Ranchera Great 'La Perla Tapatia'

I would like to celebrate the life of Janet Cortez, a ranchera singer whose stage name was La Perla Tapatia. Cortez was member of beloved singing group Las Tesoros de San Antonio. She died Sunday at 83.

I was fortunate enough to see her perform several times in her trademark bolero hat and black and white cape, but what amazed me was her determination to perform despite a life time of health issues -- including throat cancer.

After 40 surgeries that removed most of her voice box, and having to breathe with a tracheostomy -- a surgically created airway through the neck -- Cortez defied the doctors who said she never would speak again and somehow retained that strong voice.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi