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Tejano Music History. Essay

1200 words - 5 pages

While researching the definition of Tejano music for this paper, the first descriptions that appeared in print were "contagious" and "makes you want to dance" with "diverse influences" that make up the style. After listening to recordings for the class, on the internet, and from the library, the claims of Tejano music being "contagious" and "diverse" are well-substantiated. Though a further examination of the extensive literature reveals the origins and more precise description of the style, undeniably, the initial impression one gains from the writings is one of extreme excitement and contentment. Listening to only a small fraction of the recording collections, what is written about Tejano music holds true. Today, Tejano music is popular not only in Texas and Mexico, but throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Surprisingly, some of the most popular Tejano groups are not even from the Texas-Mexican border; La Sombra and La Mafia hailed from Chicago, Illinois, and Houston, Texas (San Miguel Jr. 2002). Tejano music, nearly a century old, continues to be a booming industry, serving the cultural needs of both Latino and non-Latino listeners.Translated literally, Tejano means "Texas-Mexican". Indeed, the origin of the past and present phenomenon is uniquely Texas-Mexican. A brief excursion to grade school world history will enumerate the geographical origin of Tejano music. After Cortez conquered the Aztec empire, the Mexican population struggled to regain independence from the thievery and tyranny of the Spanish government. Mexico became a Spanish colony for the next 300 years, while Spain continued to conquer new ground. The area now known as Texas was settled by Spain in the late 1600's. San Antonio, located midway between Mexico and the east Texas Missions, was founded in 1718. As of today, San Antonio remains the capital of the Tejano music movement. Later, The Rio Grande Valley was settled by Spain around 1749, yielding a new culture, due to the geographic remoteness of the area. The primary influences of the settlement's culture were gained from Nuevo Leon, and Tamlipas, the two closest Mexican States. San Antonio became part of Southern Texas in 1848, when the Hidalgo treaty was signed. The mixture of the Mexican and newly formed Texas areas created a unique blend of cultures.The geographical roots of Tejano music appear to be clear and distinct, yet the music itself varies greatly. Tejano makes use of traditional beats such as the cumbia, bolero, corrido, cancion, or ranchera. The cumbia is an African-Hispanic style originating from Panama and Colombia. It is characterized by a small ensemble consisting of an accordion and various types of percussion instruments. In Ray Camacho's cumbia, "La Leyenda", one can distinctly observe the South American influence. Another example of the cumbia, a more relaxed and romantic, but still danceable cumbia, is Johnny Hernandez's "Pensando En Ti". Though electronic instruments can be heard...

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