Is Tejano Music Completely Dead? We Ask The Experts
In the past decade or so, much has been written about the decline and apparent death of Tejano Music, the much-loved yet all but forgotten genre that mixes traditional conjunto music with modernized, keyboard-driven pop sounds native to the Mexican-American population of South Texas.
photos by Marco Torres
The Houston radio airwaves no longer carry the format, with the FM stations KQQK Tejano 106.5 and Super Tejano 108.5 gone for more than a decade, and Tejano 980 AM also converting away from the genre over the last few years.
Even the so-called Go Tejano Day at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is Tejano in name only, showcasing its last Tejano act back in 2007. The popular after work Party On the Plaza showcases held at Jones Plaza are a sweet memory, and the stage at Guadalupe Plaza remains silent.
Yet there is one event where Tejano has always flourished and continues to do so: The Annual Festival Chicano at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. For three days every October, a certain Mr. Daniel Bustamante has produced Tejano showcases and community events for the whole family, much to the delight of the still-strong fan base of the genre.
So Rocks Off headed over to Hermann Park this past weekend and spoke to five influential artists about the current state of Tejano music and their response to claims that Tejano is dead.
Dead?! Not Jaime y Los Chamacos, we've been booked all year and continue to tour. We just came home from Las Vegas and Arizona. I agree that the fire has burned out some after [the] '90s, but we has a lot of young fans back then that are now coming back to Tejano.
We aren't on the radio anymore, but you have the Internet... iTunes, Amazon, and BNET Radio online. The fans keep showing us that they care, and when they show up to events like this (Festival Chicano), it keeps the tradition going.
There was a 13-year-old kid out there tonight who plays accordion! There's our future right there! So no, definitely not dead. Neglected a little bit, but not dead.
I've been in this business for over 50 years, and the so called "death of Tejano" has not affected me. I'm still going, still here and happy to be here. What I do is help the movement in any way I can by talking about issues that the community needs to be made aware of.... like diabetes. I'm a diabetic, so I help raise that awareness, turn a negative into a positive.
I'm not dead and the music is not either.