Esperanza Peace and Justice Center proudly presents: “Resiliencia y Más Corazón: Las Tejanas, The Soul of Mexican American Music,” a community event hosted by the UTSA Mexican American Studies Program and facilitated by Dr. Rachel Yvonne Cruz. It is a lecture/performance that examines the contributions of Tejana musicians to the evolution of Mexican American music. This conversation focuses on the roles played by influential Tejana artists, highlighting their unique blend of talents and cultural expressions, as well as the challenges they have faced in an industry shaped by heteronormative and gender-normative precepts.
“Long inspired by The Esperanza and Graciela’s work with Las Tesoros, this plática is an extensión of that unwavering commitment to cultural preservation. A celebration of Tejanas’/x’s rich contributions to Mexican American music, our collaboration reflects our mutual commitment to activism, education, and community. It’s a privilege to contribute to this ongoing narrative and the vital work of documenting voices too long unheard, never heard, or forgotten.” says Dr. Cruz.
The plática will include a discussion with prominent figures in Tejano music: Patsy Torres, who has used her platform to address social issues, education, and identity, inspiring cultural pride; and Shelly Lares, known for challenging conventional heterosexual Tejano music models.
Dr. Cruz explores Torres’s musical journey, emphasizing her innovative blend of traditional Tejano rhythms with contemporary sounds and her intrinsic motivation to complete a doctoral degree. Moreover, Cruz speaks with Shelly Lares about her courage in paving the way for future generations of female and hetero/gender nonconforming artists to pursue careers in the music industry.
The lecture will be complemented by a performance from Mariachi Las Valquirias, a group renowned for their fusion of mariachi traditions with modern sensibilities. This performance promises to not only entertain but serve as a practical demonstration of the lecturer’s themes, showcasing the vibrant and evolving nature of Mexican American music.
Dr. Cruz’s lecture offers a comprehensive look at the resilience and creativity of Tejana musicians, illustrating their vital role in both preserving and innovating Mexican American music and heritage.
Dr. Rachel Yvonne Cruz is an assistant Professor of Mexican American Studies/Music Specialist in the Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s College of Education and Human Development. Dr. Cruz is also Director of MÁS Corazón de UTSA and a UTSA Honors College Faculty Fellow.
The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center is a nationally recognized non profit arts organization founded in 1987 by a group made up of mostly Chicana activists seeking to bring together diverse movements for peace and justice in San Antonio and around the world. Esperanza is dedicated to the intersections of cultural arts and social change. Esperanza’s cultural programming champions the lives and experiences of women, people of color, LGBTQ, immigrant, and working class communities. Esperanza continues to be a politically progressive, outspoken, and unwavering force for justice in San Antonio and beyond.