Ultimamente, for some reason, everyone seems to be interested in talking about the whole Tejano – yes with a “J” instead of an “X” – movement that took place here in the Lone Star State, and across the rest of the nation really, quite a few years ago now, and culminating with the death of Selena in 1995. Both in real life and across the social media spectrum, people are asking.
What is Tejano? Remember such and such artist? Whatever happened to? Did you like Tejano music?
By no means would I say I’m an expert, but I do remember lots of late night Tejano dances at our high school’s cafeteria – when they’d pull back all the foldable tables, bring in a radio deejay, dim down the lights and turn on a disco ball to illuminate the room, as we’d dance the night away… or the early evening, more accurately. We had school the next day!
So in honor of those great memories and a few others: here a Few Tejano Essentials… as I remember them anyway. Let me know if I left anything out.
8. The Boots: Ropers – they were simple and light, easy to wear, without being picudas, and you could find them in just about any color, both for men and women.
7. La Tejana: The Hat – especially for Tejano credibility, the hat was one of the most important accessories for guys… and girls and women always looked caliente, lol, with their Tejanas on.
6. Knowing How To Dance – my sisters invested a couple of hours each to teaching my brothers and I how to dance. It was pretty simple, just a couple of steps, this way and that way, and we were ready to go. I still managed to struggle with learning, but the memories we made together, priceless.
5. The Women of Tejano – Selena, of course, but other than her, believe it or not, there were a couple of other Tejano female singers who were pretty good too. Think Shelly Lares, Laura Canales, and then eventually Jennifer Peña. And who could forget Elsa Garcia with that biggest hit of her career Ya Te Vi, Ya Te Vi, Ya Te Vi, Que Vienes Tomado…
4. Hombres y Grupos – let me just list a few here: La Mafia of course, Emilio Navaira, Jaime y Los Chamacos, David Lee Garza, Jay Perez, The Hometown Boys, Bobby Pulido, La Fiebre, etc., etc. The genre was always more male domintaed.
3. A Good Spot – almost as important as the music, was the place where you went to dance it. The things to consider for a spot were what groups did they bring, how crowded did they get, and how attractive were the other people that showed up, not to mention if we could afford the place.
2. Johnny Canales – what would Tejano music have been without his “The Johnny Canales Show,” where so many of these artists got their starts… and also his signature line You got it! Take it Away!
1. Las Vueltas – once you mastered the basics of how to dance Tejano, you moved into the vueltas, which were a whole lot of fun, and pretty easy to follow. Even I was able to master a few!
And while Tejano music is nowhere near as huge as it once was, it still holds a special place in a lot of our hearts. Especially for those of us here in the great state of Tejas!