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!
They sure were the “Good Old Days”! 🙂 I grew up w/ Mexican music always playing in the house. I fondly remember my mother teaching my sister and I how to dance. She made it a point for me to get the steps just right! lol
In the 90’s my family would go to a dance hall called “Luna Pier”, where we always had a good time. The music was usually Tex-Mex or Tejano local bands. Another place was Club International in Detroit where famous groups would perform. I liked artists such as: Selena, Elsa Garcia, Emilio Navaira, La Sombra, Alberto Zamora and Jaime y Los Chamacos. I wanted to dress just like Selena and Elsa. I had to get some botas, chaps and a Tejana! I even had an outfit that I would call “My Elsa Garcia Outfit”! Ha 🙂
I remember the 1st time I heard Selena “Amor Prohibido” was in a record store in Reynosa, Tamp in 1994. I saw her poster on the wall & thought she was beautiful. I wanted to learn more about her and her music.
I enjoyed watching Johnny Canales’ show to see the artists perform. My dad would always tell me “He is from the same hometown & we went to the same school in Mexico” Lol. It was surreal to finally meet Johnny Canales in 1998!
It’s amazing how a genre of music and culture could bring my family together and the many good memories of this era.
And I will end with una “VUELTA” 😉
What an awesome comment from my #TejanoTuesday deejay… You know, in large part this post was dedicated to you and your sister Elisa, because every Tuesday on Twitter you help me relive some of those very wonderful memories from the Tejano culture and music. As I mentioned on the post, my sisters are the ones that taught me how to dance the music… and one of them was so into the music that every once in a while when she was sweeping or mopping the house, she’d break out into a full Tejano dance routine, with the broom or mop as her partner. It was silly back then, but as the years have past and she’s become a mother and a responsible adult, lol, that memory of her as a carefree young girl full of passion and energy dancing around our house is one of the ones I cherish the most!
My dad liked watching Johnny Canales since we were kids in the Valley of Texas and we just got used to seeing and hearing him on our television. Even now, when I hear just his voice, I know who he is immediately. And everyone who I’ve ever said that line to “you got it! take it away!!” has always known exactly who and what I was talking about. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, but I would love to. It would be unforgettable, seguro!
Gracias por el comment… y pasame la mano, pa hecharnos bien esa vuelta Tejana 🙂
I’m very far from the Tejano music scene and yet somehow I stumbled upon a CD by La Mafia, (which I still have and love), at a music store when I was in high school.
My school was like 95% white so there weren’t any tejano dances to go to, (I LOVE that you had them in your school cafeteria.) … The closest thing available was country line dancing, so I was into that for a very short while.
I had this pair of dark red cowboy boots I wore a lot, and a black hat. LOL. My classmates were used to my weirdness by then though so no one really even looked twice when I showed up to school like that.
One night I wore those boots to work. (I worked at an Italian restaurant…was actually assistant manager. LOL. Aren’t you proud of me?) The styrofoam cups for fountain drinks were stored up on a high shelf. I’m really short and didn’t feel like going to get the step ladder, so I jumped up to grab the plastic sleeve of the cups. When I came back down, the floor was a little slick and my boot twisted in a really weird direction. Makes me sick just remembering it. My father had to come pick me up and take me to the hospital, (I broke my foot.) – That was the last time I wore those red boots. LOL.
Wow, Tracy!! That would be reason enough for any of us to stop wearing those red boots too. OUCH!! It hurts me just thinking about how much that must have hurt… sorry about that.
But yes, I’m glad we had the chance to go to those dances. Even though they were in our school cafeteria, we thought they were so cool, lol. La Mafia was huge. They were one of the biggest Tejano groups, so I’m not surprised they made it all the way to you where there wasn’t even a Tejano music scene. In the years, post-Selena, for some reason, they’ve not made it back as big as they once were, but rest assured, they have been trying.
I liked their lyrics because they were easy for me to understand even though I had only had a year or two of Spanish in school at that point. I used to lay on the carpet in my room and study the little booklet that came with the CD while listening. LOL. “Yo soy ese romantico” has always been my favorite.
So many of their songs back then were my favorites… Un millon de Rosas, Me estoy enamorando, come to mind now, lol… and that same song, enamorando, was my sister and her husband’s wedding song 🙂
Its to bad and sad that we do not have enough tejano music here in Houston, But thank God for the Internet because we have some great websites, maybe you should check them out. Bnet.com & Picante.com
My first real experience with the Tejano scene was in Tempe Arizona. There was a Club called club Rio in the 90’s(no longer there) that had Tejano Night on Saturdays. That was where I really fell in Love with the Music. got to meet Emilio, Jay, and Ram there at the meet and greets. the club capacity was 2000 people and if you didn’t get there by 10pm you were left waiting in line for a couple hours. I learned to get there early real quick.. although there is still tejano nights here in Phoenix they are not like they used to be.. we hope to Change that with our online Radio Station http://www.TejanoView.net . lets get the ball rolling Phoenix!!!! log on and Listen or Else! 🙂
Hey I’m definitely checking out the channel! Thanks for the recommend… and when you get the Tejano movement going again in Phoenix let me know so I can come by. Thanks, DJ!!
To me, Tejano means Conjunto music!
The yearly festival in San Antonio: http://www.2camels.com/tejano-conjuto-music-festival.php
Hacienda Records (and radio station) in Houston.
Flaco Jiménez, Valerio Longoria, Tony de la Rosa. Arhoolie Records has several “folkways” conjunto albums to preserve the history and pleasure. New generations keep coming! ¡Viva el acordeón!
Indeed, Susana! Viva el acordeon!!! That music it makes just makes you want to dance and is really incomparable to anything else! Love your memories & passion for Tejano music and cultura 🙂
gracias a esta musica me enamor mas de mi esposo y asi lo conoci siendo un tejano
SO glad you are dedicated to Tejano Music and promote the History of it so proudly! Thanks for being so sincere. God Bless you and your family, Great Article!
Does anyone know who sang a 70’s sing that had the phrase, “En el bosque una china set predio?” Thx.
Enrique y Ana
Does anyone know who sang a 70’s sing that had the phrase, “En el bosque una china se predio?” Thx.
1980’s Entique y Ana? En un bosque de la China la chinita de perdió y como yo andaba perdido nos encontramos los dos.
I remember the good old days, when Texas was mostly white. Dirty wetbacks.
Texas used to be a part of Mexico, you stupid redneck.
Jim Bean is obviously an uneducated white man with a low end job who probably lives in a trailer and has nothing better to do than post comments on websites that he doesn’t have any business posting on because he is desperate for someone to pay attention to him.
This site is a wonderful tribute to the Hispanic Culture and without such there would be no Texas!
I am white and grew up with all of this music in my small town and enjoyed it every weekend!!! I’ve danced in the street to Agustine Ramirez, partied with La Fiebre and will dance to all this music until I cannot dance any longer!!! Bailar Todo Me Vida!!!