The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Book Reviews

Many observers misunderstand what constitutes msica tejana according to
San Miguel. To clear up the confusion, he begins by characterizing the music as
a mixture of various styles, forms, and genres with several defining characteris-
tics. San Miguel argues that musica tejana is "complex, diverse, evolutionary, and
reflective of the historical realities and ethnic identity of the Mexican American
population in Texas" (p. xiii). Misica tejana is border music-originating along
the South Texas border-that is created and performed by Tejanos for Tejanos.
In addition to reflecting the historical experiences of the Tejano community,
misica tejana provides a window into the community's internal social differ-
ences, gender relations, and ethnic identity. The music began with corridos, can-
ciones tipicas, rancheras, and canciones rominticas. Although primarily based
on a polka beat, the music has also incorporated waltzes, ballads, cumbias, and
country western as the Tejano community became more urbanized, occupation-
ally diverse, and acculturated. The diversity of the music has further increased in
recent decades with the influence of rap, hip-hop, and "rock en espafol."
San Miguel traces the development of m6sica tejana chronologically over four
periods. The initial recordings, dating from 1927 to 1941, included vocal
singing with guitar accompaniment, conjuntos, and orquestras. The music's
popularity grew during this period due to the increasing use of the accordion,
the distribution and availability of affordable records, the growth of Spanish-lan-
guage radio, and the efforts of dance promoters and national record companies.
During the two decades after World War II, the establishment of local record
companies, the growth of the Tejano middle class, and the community's increas-
ing urbanization led to the emergence of female duets and orquestras Tejanas
(a cross between Mexican and American orchestras).
The continuing influence of Mexican and American musical styles trans-
formed misica tejana from the mid-196o0s to the present. Influenced by Mexi-
can nortefio music, rock, and country western, Tejano musicians formed new
ensembles of progressive conjuntos, Chicano country bands, and grupos (key-
board-based ensembles) from the mid-196os to the late 198os. The major
record labels propelled the growth of Tejano FM stations, the emergence of fe-
male singers, and the increasing popularity of musical awards shows during this
period. The last decade also witnessed the increasing attempts at crossover suc-
cess by Tejano artists intent on enlarging both their Latin American and North
American fan base.
Readers unfamiliar with misica tejana will find this book a useful overview.
The book includes a variety of photos and tables to familiarize readers with the
most popular Tejano performers. It should appeal to students of Texas history,
ethnic studies, and American studies.
California State University, Long Beach OMAR VALERIO-JIMENEZ
Our Lady of New Mexico. By Jacqueline Orsini Dunnington. (Santa Fe: Museum of
New Mexico Press, 1999. Pp. xviii+189. Acknowledgments, introduction,
color plates, chronology, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-89013-336-0.
$24.95, paper.)

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed August 2, 2015.