Takin' it to Texas
A road trip to the Tejano Music R.O.O.T.S Hall of Fame
By the time you read this, I'm probably on the road with music producer Steven Chavez and singer Pepe Marquez, headed for the southeast part of Aztlan that is Texas.
Published on LatinoLA: November 6, 2005
At the invitation of The Godfather of Tejano & Chicano Soul, Mr. "Crazy Chuy" Hernandez of Chicano Express Radio, myself and my 2 homies volunteered to go on a mission for LatinoLA (at least that's the excuse we told our real world jobs), and bring back the 411 on one of most celebrated events in the Chicano Music world, and the people that make THIS world go 'round.
I say Chicano, and I mean CHICANO. Everything promoted, celebrated, and awarded, has its roots and comes from home grown, U.S. soil, despite having a distinctly unique Latino flavor. (oma-gawd... white people hate when I do this!)
Unlike the American Music Awards, The Country Music awards, and the Latin Grammys, the Tejano Music Awards are not internationally televised, or universally aknowleged....YET!!
Typical of the state's lone star rebel pride, the Tejano Music Award Ceremony boldly awards those in their genre when nobody else does, and appreciates the efforts of their people, who for most intents and purposes, are musically irrelevant to the commercial music world because 90% of the sung lyrics are in Spanish, and they owe NO allegiance to Mexico, nor any other foreign country that claims Spanish as their primary language, thus, no one to impose an entertainment tariff upon, no one with whom to make a trade agreement with....Chicanos piss people off like that...we're Americans! Ha!
Up until the explosion on the music scene by SELENA, and the subsequent movie following her untimely demise that made Jennifer Lopez a star, not a lot of people outside of Texas had considered Tejano music an entity within itself. Downplayed as another form of "Mexican music" by many, stars like Freddy Fender were considered country singers because of his "Wasted days and wasted nights" hit, which was in English.
Being a homie from the L.A. part of Aztlan, my music world was also confined by the commercial powers that be, unbeknowest to me. When I went into the military, I was shocked to meet people from different states who had never heard of TIERRA, El CHICANO, MALO, THE JAGUARS, WAR, TOWER OF POWER, THE PREMIERS, CANNIBAL & THE HEADHUNTERS,THE BLENDELLS, LOS LOBOS, or THEE MIDNITERS.....poor deprived bastards, I thought...you don't know what you're missing!
Then, meeting the Raza from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, I was exposed to artists like SUNNY OSUNA, LITTLE JOE & THE LATINNAIRES, RUBEN RAMOS, THE ROYAL JESTERS, THE SUNLINERS, THE TORTILLA FACTORY, THE LATIN BREED, FREDDIE MARTINEZ, JOE BRAVO & THE HARLEMS, THE SUNGLOWS, and ....man, did I feel like a deprived bastard!
Fast forward 33 years: Now known as Tex~Mex, and after celebrating the musical blessing and loss to the World that was SELENA, Tejano music is on the rise, and my homies here en Califas are playing it with increasing frequency and popularity, to the bewilderment of the American music establishment...with the homies de Tejas now kickin' it back to us with their take on the Oldies, R & B, and Latin Soul, with the Spanish language music establishment beginning to shit their pants that the multi-billion dollar Latino market has a growing segment outside their culturally assumed sphere of influence.
...I LIKE THAT! Chicanos doing something uniquely Chicano, and nobody but Chicanos can put claim on it. Mexicans deplore it, white & black America can't understand it for the most part, and other Latino groups (no offense, mis hermanos y hermanas que pienzan mas aristocatica) are scratching their heads at it...
...NO, I LOVE IT! IT'S A BROWN THING, BABY!! "Hispanics" who hitherto were almost ashamed to call themselves CHICANO, are now supporting their musical-warrior bethren, with a newfound "in your face" pride.
TEJAS.... AY VENGO!!! ...and I'm bringing my homies Music producer Steven Chavez and Califas singing sensation Pepe Marquez with me to hook up with Crazy Chuy and the Tejano Music Industry!!
Whatever happens, you'll hear about it here, on LatinoLA.com!!!
...why does the ending of the movie "East rider" keep coming to me?....hmmmm
Frankie Firme's website: http://www.frankiefirme.50megs.com