Tejano music | Texas Public Radio

Tejano music

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.


Grupo Fantasma's raucous, good-time mix of funk, cumbia and soul emerged from the clubs of Austin at the start of the century, bringing with it a fresh sensibility for Tejano music. Now, the band faces a challenge: How do you make that great idea even better?

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

She was and is still the queen of Tejano.

(SOUNDBITE OF SELENA SONG)

Terry Ross / Wikimedia Commons

SAN ANTONIO — Twenty years after Selena’s murder, the Latin world will remember “The Queen of Tejano” with concerts, lookalike contests, dances and a massive festival. But her father has mixed feelings about the celebrations.

“Of course I’m happy that, today, people remember Selena more than ever,” Abraham Quintanilla III said via phone from his office in Corpus Christi.

“But, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we don’t celebrate deaths or birthdays, and we don’t want people to think we’re behind all the festivities. It’s crazy. It grows every day with events everywhere, but we’re not organizing them. Our family never got together every year on the day of her murder, because there’s nothing to celebrate, and this year won't be the exception,” he added.

“We remember our daughter every single day. We don’t need a special day to remember her.”

Selena began performing as a child, singing in Los Dinos, a band formed by her father that featured her brother A.B. on bass and sister Suzette on drums.

She won a Best Mexican-American Album Grammy for Live, had several hits in the U.S. and was about to cross over to the English-language pop market when, on March 31, 1995, she was murdered by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club.

In some ways, borders that divide countries are concrete and inescapable. The border between Mexico and the U.S. is very real for the thousands who have died trying to cross it without papers; for those whose families are divided by it; for those living the nightmare of getting caught in the crossfire of a drug trade that seeps in through the borders' darkest hidden crevices.

Laurel Morales / Fronteras

Fronteras: West Nile cases are up across the Southwest. A recent study shows more Latinos are moving to rural America. A young Mexican artist, now living in Texas, talks about his drawings that shine a light on the fact that children are growing up amid war and corruption along the border. Finally, Lydia Mendoza has been called the First Lady of Tejano and Conjunto Music and this week the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a forever stamp in her honor.

Joey Palacios / TPR

Lydia Mendoza has been called the first lady of Tejano and Conjunto Music and Wednesday the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a forever stamp in her honor as part of a music legends series.

La alondra de la frontera (the lark of the border) was honored at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center on the West Side.

Mendoza was born to a musical family in Houston in 1916 and she progressed in her talents, eventually mastering the 12-string guitar.

Mendoza is one of several pioneering musicians being honored in the postal services' Music Icon stamp series.

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