Border Tejano News

What is Tejano Music??

By the Border Tejano Martin Leal

The other day I was in San Antonio, and I was listening to the radio (KXTN). They were interviewing Gary Hobbs, he and the DJ were talking about Tejano music and what it meant. The interview led to the point where Tejano was defined as a glossy term to generically label the music we listen to on Tejano CDs, Tapes, Dances, Radio etc.....

There was no specific sound to Tejano and that the sound was subject to the whims of the public. My first reaction was "WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT !!" , then the more I thought about the more I found myself agreeing with part of this premise. Not with the part about it being generic, but the fact that Tejano music is subject to the whims of the fans. After all Tejano music fans know what they like and will listen to it because they like what they hear. Unlike other music markets in the United States, where what will be the hot sound is determined, hyped, and marketed from the music labels executive board room . Tejano fans do not respond to hype from above, they respond to each other and their favorite bands. Tejano music has endured for most of this century and will endure well into the next century because of this one key factor, it respond to its fans. Every change in the Tejano sound includes both the new style and the old style.

The old saying "the more things change , the more they stay the same" applies to Tejano music. I know this to be true because every time an old song comes on the radio as a new release and my mother (who is 70) is with me she makes the same comment "Que Cancion tan nueva" ( What a New Song). She then proceeds to let me know that she was a young girl when she heard it and them sings it to prove it. Try doing that with Rap or Heavy Metal . A Tejano is a Texan who is of Mexican ancestry . Tejano music is what we make of it , not what it makes of us. It defines us , because we define it.

Tejano music is not generic because we are not generic. It is what we listen to and it in turn listens to us.

These are just my thoughts on this subject. Let me know what you think.....

by Martin Leal
Texas History Teacher
Brownsville I.S.D.
B.A. History