Lydia Mendoza (May 31, 1916 – December 20, 2007) was an American guitarist and singer of Tejano, conjunto, and traditional Mexican-American music. She is known as "La Alondra de la Frontera" (or "The Lark of the Border" in English).
|Born||May 31, 1916|
Houston, Texas, United States
|Died||December 20, 2007 (aged 91)|
San Antonio, Texas, United States
In the early 1930s, Mendoza came to the attention of Manuel J. Cortez, a pioneer of Mexican-American radio broadcasting. Her live radio performances set the stage for her 1934 recordings on the Bluebird Records label, a subsidiary of RCA Victor. Her recording, "Mal Hombre", became an overnight success and led to an intensive schedule of touring and recording.
After World War II, Mendoza recorded for many of the major Mexican-American record labels mostly located in Texas including DLB Records and Norteno Records both based in San Antonio. Mendoza sang and played her signature 12-string guitar live at the University of California - Berkeley in 1982, considered by many fans and critics as one of her most outstanding performances at 66 years old. A listening of her "bandera" (flagship or breakthrough) recording of "Mal Hombre" in 1934 followed by her 1982 live version of the song almost 50 years later showcases the maturation of her voice and soulful depth over the decades. Mendoza's 1982 concert was released in 2001 as the album "La Alondra De La Frontera - Live!," and is available on the Smithsonian Institute's Folkways Radio Station and on Amazon music. She continued actively performing and recording until a stroke in 1988 slowed her schedule down. Many of her recordings are still available including those issued by DLB Records a Texas-based label specializing in South Texas Spanish language music and Arhoolie Records, a California-based label specializing in the release of regional forms of American music.
Over the years, Lydia Mendoza was the recipient of numerous awards and honors: In 1982, she became the first Texan to receive the National Heritage Fellowship lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1999, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts, in 2001, she received that year's Lifetime Achievement Award from Folk Alliance International, and in 2003, she was among the second group of recipients to be awarded the Texas Medal of Arts by the Texas Cultural Trust.
Lydia Mendoza died on December 20, 2007, in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 91. She is interred at San Fernando Cemetery in San Antonio.
A Texas Historical Commission Marker number 16BX04 was approved for Lydia Mendoza's grave in February 2016.
Lydia Mendoza discography, on Victor label: Source: Discography of American Historical Recordings, UC Santa Barbara 
American Epic is a documentary media franchise based upon the first recordings of roots music in the United States during the 1920s and their cultural, social and technological impact on North America and the world. The franchise comprises a three-part award-winning documentary film series directed by Bernard MacMahon, a feature-length musical documentary film, a book, ten album releases and an educational program. American Epic is widely considered as the definitive portrait of the musical era, and one of the best music documentaries ever made.The American Epic documentary series was first broadcast from May 16–30, 2017 on the BBC in the United Kingdom and on PBS in the USA. The story is told through twelve ethnically and musically diverse musicians who auditioned for and participated in these pioneering recording sessions; The Carter Family, the Memphis Jug Band, Elder J.E. Burch, The Williamson Brothers, Dick Justice, Charley Patton, The Hopi Indian Chanters, Joseph Kekuku, Lydia Mendoza, the Breaux Family, Mississippi John Hurt, and Blind Willie Johnson.The American Epic Sessions was first broadcast on June 6, 2017. It is a documentary film in which an engineer restores the fabled long-lost first electrical sound recording system from 1925, and twenty contemporary artists pay tribute to the momentous machine by attempting to record songs on it for the first time in 80 years. The film was directed and co-written by Bernard MacMahon and stars Nas, Alabama Shakes, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Jack White, Taj Mahal, Ana Gabriel, Pokey LaFarge, Beck, Ashley Monroe, and Steve Martin.A book, American Epic: The First Time America Heard Itself was published on May 2, 2017. It was collaborative memoir written by film director Bernard MacMahon, producer Allison McGourty, and music historian Elijah Wald, chronicling the 10-year odyssey researching and making the American Epic documentary series and The American Epic Sessions films.American Epic: The Collection was released on May 12, 2017 - a 5 CD box set of 100 songs featuring one track by each of the hundred artists researched as potential subjects for the American Epic films. On the same day American Epic: The Soundtrack was released compiling 14 vintage and 1 contemporary performance featured in the American Epic documentaries.On June 9, 2017, Music from The American Epic Sessions was released, featuring contemporary artists recording live on the restored first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s. The 2 CD, triple vinyl album contained 32 performances recorded for The American Epic Sessions film.On June 16, 2017 a series of compilations were released of artists featured in the American Epic documentary films. The albums were American Epic: The Best of Mississippi John Hurt, American Epic: The Best of The Carter Family, American Epic: The Best of Blind Willie Johnson, American Epic: The Best of Memphis Jug Band along with American Epic: The Best of Lead Belly who was not featured in the film. These releases were accompanied two genre compilations; American Epic: The Best of Blues and American Epic: The Best of Country. The albums were released as digital downloads with truncated versions issued on vinyl.In the fall of 2017 an educational program based on the American Epic film series was launched at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.Arhoolie Records
Arhoolie Records, which is based in El Cerrito, California, United States (it is actually located in Richmond Annex but has an El Cerrito postal address), is an American small independent record label run by Chris Strachwitz. The label was founded by Strachwitz in 1960 as a way for him to record and produce music by previously obscure "down-home blues" artists such as Lightnin' Hopkins, Snooks Eaglin, and Bill Gaither. Arhoolie still publishes blues and folk music, Tejano music including Lydia Mendoza, Los Alegres de Teran, Flaco Jimenez, regional Mexican music, cajun, zydeco, and bluegrass.Azteca Records
Azteca Records was a mid 20th century record label specializing in Mexican music. Azteca Records was founded by Trinidad Pelaez in the 1940s as Discos Azteca with retail as well as recording. Many titles were released in Mexico on the Peerless Records imprint. By the 1960s the label and shops were acquired by Al Sherman of Alshire Records in Burbank, California. The label was mostly marketed in Mexico, but was manufactured in Los Angeles, California, in the United States of America.Corona Records
Corona Records was a San Antonio-based label which helped establish the Tejano musical style. It was formed by Manuel Rangel, Sr. Valerio Longoria made his first records for Corona in an electrical repair shop in 1947, which was also Corona's first release, and stayed for two years with several regional hits, before signing to Ideal Records. Little Joe was signed to the label for a short time. Lydia Mendoza recorded several titles for the label between 1955 and 1966. The label recorded most San Antonio-based tejano artists of note, but the company kept no recording or sales ledgers. The label released several hundreds of records, and was active into the 1970s.Deborah Tucker (executive)
Deborah Tucker is an American activist and executive who founded the first shelter in the United States for victims of domestic violence and their children. In 2014, she was inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame.Falcon Records (Texas)
Falcon Records was a record label from McAllen, Texas, that was instrumental in the establishment of tejano as a widespread musical style. Founded in 1948 by Arnaldo Ramirez, the label specialized in the rural norteño music which had been abandoned by the major labels. By the early 1960s it was clearly the leading tejano music label. Falcon was responsible for numerous recordings by Los Alegres de Terán, Chelo Silva, René y René, Roberto Pulido, and many other tejano and norteño artists of significance. Falcon's product gained international exposure through the syndicated television program Fanfarria Falcon. The label's activities wound down around 1990, and the recordings were purchased by EMI. The company's historical artifacts are held at the Jernigan Library at Texas A&M University–Kingsville.Flores negras
"Flores negras" ("Black Flowers") is a bolero song written and composed by Cuban musician Sergio De Karlo and published in 1937. It was introduced by Mexican tenor Pedro Vargas in the 1937 film Los chicos de la prensa. Vargas recorded it for RCA Victor.
"Flores negras" is also one of the greatest hits of Mexican singer Elvira Ríos, who popularized the song in the United States and South America. She first recorded "Flores negras" on 21 May 1940 in New York City for Decca Records. She sang it in 1942 Argentine film Ven... mi corazón te llama, and later rerecorded the song in Mexico for RCA Victor in 1963 and Orfeón in 1974.
The song has also been recorded by Lydia Mendoza (1937), Bing Crosby (1941), Eydie Gormé with Los Panchos (1965), Elvira Quintana (1965), Irma Serrano (1973), Julio Jaramillo, and Ana Gabriel (2000).Ginger Kerrick
Ginger Kerrick is an American physicist at NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.Ideal Records
Ideal Records was a record label from Texas specializing in Tejano music. It became the most important record label of the genre in the 1940s and 1950s, recording tejano's most prominent artists. It declined in the early 1960s, but not before leaving an indelible mark on Tex-Mex culture.Irene Diamond
Irene Diamond (May 7, 1910 – January 21, 2003) was a Hollywood talent scout and later in life a philanthropist.Judith Craven
Judith B. Craven (born 1946) is a medical professional with a degree from Bowling Green State University. She is also involved in business, specifically as a board member of Luby's and as an Independent director of Sysco.Kate Atkinson Bell
Catherine "Kate" Atkinson Bell (June 29, 1907 – February 25, 2003) was an American educator.Lane Murray
Lane Murray was an educator who helped found the correctional education system in prisons in Texas.Latin music in Canada
The introduction of Latin music in Canada began during the immigration waves of Hispanics into the country. The commercialization of Latin music emerged during the "Latin explosion" or "Latin invasion" of the 1990s after American Latinos began competing with Canadian recording artists and receiving music certifications issued by Music Canada. Since 1999, Latin musicians have gained popularity on radios, at nightclubs, music festivals, and appearances on television in Canada.
Latin music had its beginnings in Canada when Ferdinand Morton began touring the country as early as the 1910s. Tropical music became a popular genre among Canadians; singers Tito Puente, Willie Colón, and Rubén González popularized it in the country. Female salsa music singers such as Celia Cruz gained success in Canada after the rise of women in music genres dominated by men. Cuban pop singer Gloria Estefan, Spanish pop singer Julio Iglesias, and Tejano music performer Lydia Mendoza found success in Canada before the 1990s Latin music explosion.
During the Latin music invasion of the 1990s, singers such as Selena, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, the Gipsy Kings, and the Buena Vista Social Club were among the most successful Hispanics in Canada. Buena Vista Social Club's self-titled debut album became the best-selling Latin album in Canada, having been certified triple platinum by Music Canada. During the 2000s decade, Latin music acts from Canada were recognized as with Alex Cuba who won a Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year in 2006 for his debut album. Canadian singer Nelly Furtado was inspired by Cuba to record a Spanish-language album in 2009; her album Mi Plan peaked number 20 on the Canadian Albums Chart, becoming the highest-charting Spanish-language album ever recorded by a Canadian artist.Lisa Lopez
Lisa Lopez is a Tejano music singer who had a United States Billboard Regional Mexican Airplay number one single with "Si Quieres Verme Llorar" (1982). Lopez's core audience was targeted towards Mexicans, and became the first female Tejano singer to appear on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart in October 1986. Historically, female musicians were commercially less successful than male performers. Lopez became a successful female Tejano singer before the genre's 1990s golden age, and was among the seven female singers who became popular artists; including Chavela Ortiz, Patsy Torres, Laura Canales, Shelly Lares, Elsa Garcia, and Selena.Lopez is the niece of Isidro Lopez and was musically similar to Lydia Mendoza and Chelo Silva. She signed a recording contract with Sony Discos in the early 1990s, though her recordings failed to impact any music chart. Lopez won the first Tejano Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year, Tejano Music Award for Female Entertainer of the Year, and won in 1982 the Tejano Music Award for Song of the Year.Malagueña Salerosa
Malagueña Salerosa — also known as La Malagueña — is a well-known Son Huasteco or Huapango song from Mexico, which has been covered more than 200 times by recording artists.
The song is that of a man telling a woman (from Málaga, Spain) how beautiful she is, and how he would love to be her man, but that he understands her rejecting him for being too poor.
Malagueña Salerosa is attributed to Elpidio Ramírez and Pedro Galindo, published by Peer International in 1947 (monitored by BMI), although Mexican composer Nicandro Castillo questions the validity of that authorship. As he mentions:
"The issue is controversial because […] [Hidalguense composer] don Nicandro Castillo wrote that several tunes from la Huasteca which in decades past were known as huapangos, composed by Elpidio Ramírez, Roque Ramírez and Pedro Galindo, were actually anonymous songs, as was the case of Cielito Lindo and La Malagueña, which like La Guasanga or El Sacamandú, were in the public domain, written ‘long before the construction of the Cathedral of Huejutla’."Many have recorded and played this song, in particular Tríos huastecos, Mariachis and Bolero Trios. But the most famous version was made by Miguel Aceves Mejía with his mariachi. With Huapangos or Son Huastecos, the falsetto technique is used to great effect, as in David Záizar's version. Quite a few versions of the song feature vocal gymnastics by whoever sings them, particularly the stretching of vowels such as the "e" sound in the gentilic 'Malagueña' for as long as the singer can hold the note. Other known mariachi versions of the song were recorded by:
Antonio Aguilar and Joselito
Miguel Aceves Mejía
David Záizar.Tríos huastecos that have played this song include:
Los Camperos de Valles
Trio resplandor huastecoBolero trio versions were recorded by:
Los Tres Ases
Rafael Méndez on his album Mendez and Almeida TogetherThis song became known internationally and has been recorded by such artists as:
Nancy Ames on her 1969 all Spanish album "This Is The Girl That Is".Avenged Sevenfold released a version of the song in 2017, adding metal elements to the song.Alla Bayanova was recorded in Romania in 70 years on long-playing record. She sang this song in Romanian.Ray Boguslav in 1961 on the album Curfew shall not ring tonightBomba EstéreoLuiz Bonfá on his 1966 album "The Brazilian Scene"Bud & Travis on their 1959 album Bud and Travis.Los CaballerosTex-mex band Chingón recorded it for the 2004 soundtrack of Kill Bill: Volume 2 .They also performed it live .In the opening title sequence of the movie "Once upon a time in Mexico", Antonio Banderas is seen "playing" on guitar a version of Malagueña Salerosa, recorded by Chingon, members of group Del Castillo of Austin, Texas and director/producer/editor Robert Rodriguez, with orchestral backing.Chitãozinho & Xororó in 2006 on their album Vida MarvadaThe Italian band El Cuento de la Chica y la Tequila recorded "Malagueña Salerosa" on their 2013 EP The Wounded Healer.Carol Cisneros Plácido Domingo on his 1999 album 100 Años de Mariachi, which won a Grammy Award for Best Mexican-American Performance .José Feliciano (who performed both this song and Malagueña by Ernesto Lecuona.)The Iranian singer Googoosh.The Texan folksinger Tish Hinojosa sang it on her 1991 album Aquella NocheHarry James on his 1966 album The Ballads And The Beat! (Dot DLP 3669 and DLP 25669).Yugoslav and Serbian singer Nikola Karovic recorded "Malagueña" in 1964 as a single album, and it sold more than 1 million copies.Kathy Kirby, whose 1963 UK hit (#17) "You're the One" set English lyrics, by Marcel Stellman, to the melody of "Malagueña Salerosa".The Limeliters on their 1960 album The Limeliters.Trini Lopez on his 1964 album The Latin Album, however, wasn't released as a single until 1968.Helmut Lotti in 2000 on the album Latino Classics.Paco de Lucía on his 1967 album Dos guitarras flamencas en America LatinaGaby Moreno performed it on A Prairie Home Companion in 2016.Nana Mouskouri on her 1998 album Côté Sud, Côté Coeur.Estela Nuñez on her 1972 album "Estela Nuñez con el Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán".Eddie Palmieri on his 1998 album El Rumbero del Piano.Lydia MendozaJuan ReynosoCowboy music group Riders in the Sky on their 1994 album Cowboys in Love and their 2003 album Riders in the Sky Silver JubileeRomânticos de Cuba, BrazilRonstadt Generaciones y los TucsonensesThe French singer Olivia Ruiz in 2003 on her album J'aime pas l'amour, and then again on her 2008 Spanish-language album La Chica ChocolatePablito RuizSandler and YoungThe Croatian singer Massimo Savić in 1988 on his album Riječi čarobne (Magic Words).Trio Los Angeles in 1973, reaching the Dutch pop charts. It was produced by Hans Vermeulen and played by the band Sandy Coast.The Tubes performed La Malagueña on their eponymous 1975 album debut.Caterina Valente, who also performed Malagueña by Ernesto Lecuona.The Iranian singer Viguen who sang La Malagueña in Persian. He has a Spanish version as well.Public folklore
Public folklore is the term for the work done by folklorists in public settings in the United States and Canada outside of universities and colleges, such as arts councils, museums, folklife festivals, radio stations, etc. The term is actually short for "public sector folklore" and was first used by members of the American Folklore Society in the early 1970s. Archie Green is generally credited as the founder of the public folklore movement, although his work builds on that of Ben Botkin and Alan Lomax, going back as far as the 1930s. (They called their work "applied folklore," a related but distinct paradigm.)
The birth of public folklore can be traced back to the creation of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in 1970, by an act of Congress, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Yarborough (D-TX) and written by Green and then-Senate aide Jim Hightower. Other national programs were later established at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), where prominent folklorists such as Ralph Rinzler, Alan Jabbour, and Bess Lomax Hawes worked. Funding programs were also established in the 1970s and 1980s in over 40 state arts councils, and these facilitated the eventual creation or funding of major non-profit centers for folklife documentation and presentation, such as City Lore and the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York, Texas Folklife Resources, Northwest Folklife, the Western Folklife Center, and the Philadelphia Folklore Project.
Public folklorists are engaged with the documentation, preservation, and presentation of traditional forms of folk arts, craft, folk music, and other genres of traditional folklife. In later years, public folklorists have also become involved in economic and community development projects.
Each year, some 15 outstanding American folk artists and performers are awarded National Heritage Fellowships from the NEA for their lifetime achievement. Some more widely known awardees over the years have included John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Clifton Chenier, Earl Scruggs, Michael Flatley, Shirley Caesar, Albertina Walker, Janette Carter, Koko Taylor, Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, Jean Ritchie, Sunnyland Slim, Lydia Mendoza, Boozoo Chavis, Zakir Hussain, Helen Cordero, Margaret Tafoya, Santiago Jiménez, Jr., John Cephas, Bois Sec Ardoin, Mick Moloney, Clarence Fountain & the Blind Boys, Esther Martinez, and the Dixie Hummingbirds.
The Smithsonian Institution features the Smithsonian Folklife Festival every June and July which attracts upwards of two million people to hear live performances and view demonstrations of traditional crafts.
Public folklorists also work in "folk arts in the schools" programs, presenting master traditional artists to primary and secondary schools in demonstrations and residencies. They develop apprenticeship programs to foster the teaching of traditional arts by recognized masters. They also present traditional music on radio programs such as American Routes on Public Radio International. Occasionally they produce documentary films on aspects of traditional arts; Smithsonian folklorist Marjorie Hunt won an Academy Award for her 1984 short documentary film The Stone Carvers about the carvers at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.Tejano music
Tejano music or Tex-Mex music (Texan-Mexican music), also música tejana, is various forms of folk and popular music originating among the Mexican-American populations of Central and Southern Texas. With roots in the late 19th century, it became a music genre with a wider audience in the late 20th century thanks to artists such as Selena (often referred to as "The Queen of Tejano"), Mazz, La Mafia, La Sombra, Elida Reyna, Elsa García, Laura Canales, Oscar Estrada, Jay Perez, Emilio Navaira, Esteban "Steve" Jordan, Gary Hobbs, Shelly Lares, Stefani Montiel, David Lee Garza, Jennifer Peña, and La Fiebre.Vera G. List
Vera G. List (January 6, 1908, Brookline, MA – October 10, 2002 Greenwich, Connecticut) was an American art collector, and philanthropist.
She was awarded a 1996 National Medal of Arts.
Awards for Lydia Mendoza