Galan Productions, Inc.
Songs of the Homeland

Songs of the Homeland is a one-hour documentary program that takes us on a journey through the Mexican American experience in Texas as told through its vibrant music. Spanning the period from the early 1900s to the present, during which a Mexican American identity was forged in the United States, the program documents the distinctive role played by folk music traditions as Tejanos -- Texas Mexican Americans -- adapted to a foreign and sometimes hostile society. The program is intended for a public television audience, and is produced and directed by nationally acclaimed, independent documentarian, Hector Galan.

A documentary depicting the story of Tejano music is timely not only because this music is currently enjoying a surge in popularity nationwide, but because it is a rich part of the fabric of American cultural history. From early in the century,when news on ranches and in the colonias traveled by song, to the Great Depression era when music was first recorded, to the more prosperous post-war period, Tejanos have turned to their unique musical tradition for inspiration, information and community.

The music, like the people, has been shaped by the unusual experience of existing between two cultures. The result is a synthesis which is not entirely Mexican nor entirely American. No other medium besides music so closely reflects the Mexican American spirit. Until now, this story has remained largely unknown to the general viewing public.

Songs of the Homeland brings the story of Tejano music to life by looking at musicians such as Lydia Mendoza, Valerio Longorio, Isidro Lopez and Little Joe Hernandez who have played key roles in keeping the tradition alive through succeeding generations. The continual emergence of young musicians such as David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, Selena Quintanilla, La Mafia and Los Chamacos provides testimony to the music's continued vitality.

San Antonio, Texas, as the traditional homeland and music capital for Mexican Americans throughout the United States, is the point of departure for Songs of the Homeland. Key filming and interviews is conducted in and around important landmarks such as El Azteca and the Guadalupe theaters, El Mercado (the central marketplace), and the early performance district, which together form the heart of traditional Tejano music. Additional contemporary photography in south Texas and along the border bring the history and the music to life, capturing the land and the people from which it emerged.

Songs of the Homeland makes use of rare private photo collections and early recordings. Old films, magazines, posters and record covers animate pivotal events in the Mexican American experience. These elements, contemporary and archival footage, location interviews and live music performances, are layered with music recordings and photos to recreate the rich cultural experience of Tejanos from the 1920's to the present.

Songs of the Homeland traces the history of Tejano music through the eyes and voices of musicians who have helped to keep the tradition alive. In doing so, the program broadens understanding among music fans and the general public alike of the history behind a highly cherished musical tradition, while preserving the tradition itself through documentation. The journey which viewers make in Songs of the Homeland will entertain and inform them about the distinctive musical and social traditions responsible for creating and sustaining Tejano music.

You can get a copy of this documentary visit their website at:
Galan Productions

My review of this documentary.

I have just finished viewing this documentary of the history of Tejano Music. It is just fabulous. The coverage of Tejano Music in the '60s really made me home sick. This is a 'must see' for all Tejano Music lovers, young or old. The English narration is a big plus. If you want to know the history of Tejano Music, you must get this video.

~ Abel M. Hernandez 8/2/95