Is Tejano Music Completely Dead? We Ask The Experts

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photos by Marco Torres
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.

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.

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Jaime De Anda of Jaime Y Los Chamacos
Jaime De Anda:

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.


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Tejano pioneer Little Joe
Little Joe:

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.

Location Info

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Miller Outdoor Theatre

6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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6 comments
rustylee.2011
rustylee.2011

With new Tejano artist coming in it will make a comeback. I'm a 21 year old who just got into Tejano music because of Selena it will live on and make a comeback within a few years

BNetRadio
BNetRadio

Thank you for your post and comments Marco. There are many more extremely successful Tejano events like this one going on all over the country almost every weekend. While this wasn't happening with such success for a few years, The cycle has shifted to the positive and ......

Jvela1
Jvela1

@ChingoBling it'll never die. Still gets played at weddings and quinces everywhere in Kansas. Just no more radio play.

marissa9210
marissa9210

@ChingoBling My dad says it's a dying art. He was heavy in the industry back in Tejano's hay-day. But is it completely dead? HELL NAH BABY!

dago_puente
dago_puente

@ChingoBling pretty much since Selina dieda and Emilo trys to kill himself. Plus nothing new has came out of tejano.

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