Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Lydia Mendoza (1916-2007): The Queen of Tejano Music

December 20 marked the passing of legendary Mexican-American singer and songwriter Lydia Mendoza at the age of 91. "The Queen of Tejano music" sang from the year 1928 at the age of 8 until the year 1988, a career spanning 60 years. Known as "The Lark of the Border" (La Alondra de la Frontera), Lydia Mendoza performed music in the ranchera, corrido, tango, habanera genres. Late in her life she received many honors including singing at President Carter's inauguration in 1977, a National Heritage Fellowship in 1982 and National Medal of Arts in 1999. At the ceremony, President Clinton remarked that "Lydia Mendoza is a true American pioneer and she paved the the way for a whole new generation of Latino performers, who today are making all America sing."

The library owns two biographies of Lydia Mendoza:

Lydia Mendoza: A Family Autobiography compiled and introduced by Chris Strachwitz with James Nicolopulos (1993)

Lydia Mendoza's Life in Music: Norteño Tejano Legacies by Yolanda Broyles-González (2001).

Ethnic Recordings in America: A Neglected Heritage published by the American Folklife Center of Library of Congress (1982) also includes a short bi-lingual autobiography.

The library also has recordings of Lydia Mendoza's music.

Here is a short listing of books to learn more about tejano music.

Tejano Proud: Tex-Mex Music in the Twentieth Century by Guadalupe San Miguel, Jr. (2002).

Puro Conjunto: An Album in Words and Pictures: Writings, Posters, and Photographs from the Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio, 1982-1998, edited by Juan Tejeda & Avelardo Valdez (2001).

Música Tejana: The Cultural Economy of Artistic Transformation by Manuel Peña (1999).

The Billboard Guide to Tejano and Regional Mexican Music by Ramiro Burr (1999).

The Texas-Mexican Conjunto: History of a Working-Class Music by Manuel H. Peña (1985).

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