Tejano Music On-Line!
By Javier Becerra
of Tejano Review
Interest in Tejano music has been on the rise the past few years. More and more artists enter the industry every year, which is now a multi-million dollar enterprise. While sales in the record stores continue to skyrocket, Tejano music is seeing a rapid expansion in another market, the internet.
Within the past year and a half, several sites showcasing Tejano music have appeared on the world wide web. Two of those are devoted entirely to the artform, and have been visited by people in Chicago, California and even Japan. The Tejano Home Page, created and designed by Abel Hernandez, a Senior Software Design Engineer for a data communication company in Dallas, has around 300,000 hits every month.
"That's 600 people per day, 24 hours a day," Hernandez said.
After spending seven years in the Army, Hernandez realized how important it was to keep in touch with one's culture. Having had access to the internet since 1995 and the expertise to create his own web site, he decided it was time to do something for Mexicanos on the internet
"I noticed that there was no Tejano music on the internet" he said, "so that's what I decided to pick as the main focus of my web site."
Anthony Sanchez, a 25 year old Lead Web Systems Engineer for Bay Networks Corp. who created Tejano Village, had two reasons for putting Tejano on-line.
"First is because my father was a pivotal player in the development of Tejano music in the 60s and 70s," Sanchez said. "My second reason would have to be my personal interest and love of the music."
"I thought by presenting Tejanos to the rest of the world via the internet, it would really bring a new awareness to La Onda and give our heritage the recognition it deserves."
The information that can be found on the pages ranges from music reviews to interactive comment sections. Visitors can also read interviews, see photos of Tejano artists, listen to CD music samples, read record companies' newsletters.
"Tejano Village is best described as a meeting place for individuals to exchange the latest information concerning La Onda", Sanchez said.
According to Hernandez and Sanchez, their respective pages have been getting a phenomenal response.
Hernandez has kept statistics, as well as comments, on his web site since its beginning. "I just found this site today. I think it's excellent", said one visitor in a comment.
For others, the page makes them feel at home. "Hey I really dig your Tejano homepage. It's cooking. I even like the logo. Since I play the accordion, I feel right at home. I have been looking for something about Selena and now I have found this treasure trove. Peace", said another.
"I have had nothing but favorable responses from all over the world", Hernandez said. There seems to be Tejano music lovers on every continent of the world."
Sanchez says one only needs to visit the Guestbook section of Tejano Village to see the response he has received from locations world wide.
"Nothing but praise for our efforts", he said.
Although both have extensive information on their pages now, they plan to expand them even more in the months to come.
Sanchez has been developing what he calls "Sister Sites" with many Latino organizations all over the country and hopes to expand by continuing his success with that program.
Also important to Sanchez and Tejano Village is a commitment to new technologies which can be showcased on the web site.
"We recently have incorporated JAVA and PERL (internet Programming Languages) with great success", he said. "We have included these in the homepage by way of an on-line jukebox, mercado order form, headline news for Tejanos and chat rooms", says Sanchez.
As for Hernandez, by the end of October the Puro Tejano television show will have its own web site on his La Onda Network. He also plans to contact other record companies for information on artists he does not currently feature.
"Currently I receive material to be placed on the Tejano Home Page from EMI-Latin, Sony Discos, Fonovisa, Freddie Records, Q Productions, Hacienda Records, Tejas Records, Bravo Records and Exitos Latinos Records", Hernandez said.
Besides the Tejano Home Page and Tejano Village, there are various other web pages for Tejano fans.
One of them is the official site of the Texas Talent Musicians Association. Sanchez believes this site will bring to focus the Tejano talent that is currently making strives in the music industry.
A special feature of Tejano Village is the Mundo Latino section, which has web page links to what Sanchez calls "Little Tejano Home Pages".
"They're wonderful displays of Raza spreading the word via the internet about who we are and what we contribute", he said.
In the Other Sites section of Hernandez' Tejano Home Page, there are several links to pages which feature every type of Latin music, including Tejano.
Although there are only two full Tejano web pages on the internet at this time, both are confident that more sites will be appearing and that current sites will be growing.
Sanchez expects to see great things happening to Tejano Village in the future.
"There is a very large market out there for Tejano music", said Hernandez.
The only problem he foresees, however, is the effort and resources involved in maintaining a page.
"I'm sure there will be more Tejano internet sites appearing occasionally, but they will probably become pretty static since it requires a lot of time and money to keep it dynamic and interesting so visitors will come back for more", Hernandez said.
He would also like to encourage others to try to set up their own web site and put more Hispanics on the internet.
"As we get bigger and better, the show will last that much
longer," Sanchez said. "Que viva la onda Tejana!"