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Lydia Mendoza

American guitarist and singer

Lydia Mendoza

American guitarist and singer
ALL ARTIST INFO IS PULLED FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DATA.
IF YOU REPRESENT THIS ARTIST AND WOULD LIKE TO VERIFY YOUR PAGE OR UPDATE THE INFO, Click Here
birthday
31st
May, 1916
Death
20th
December, 2007
Birth Place
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Birth Sign
gemini
Biography

Lydia Mendoza (May 31, 1916 – December 20, 2007) was an American guitarist and Spanish-language singer of Tejano, conjunto, and traditional Mexican-American music. Historian Michael Joseph Corcoran has stated that she was “The Mother of Tejano Music”, an art form that is the uniquely Texas cultural amalgamation of traditional Mexican, Spanish, German, and Czech musical roots. She recorded on numerous labels over the course of her six-decade career of live performing. The aggregate total of her records numbers an estimated 200 different Spanish-language songs on at least 50 LP record albums. In 1977, she performed at the Inauguration of President Jimmy Carter, as part of the line-up for the Inaugural Folk Dance and Concert. Her most well-known tune was “Mal Hombre” (Bad Man), a song she had heard as a child.
She was born in Houston, Texas, into a Mexican-American musical family originally from San Luis Potos . The family had fled Mexico at the onset of the Mexican Revolution, after which they returned home for two years. When she was four years old, the family once again immigrated to Texas. Although she lived most of her life in the United States, primarily Texas, she never spoke any language but Spanish. The family moved frequently to find work and entertained other migrant workers wherever they went.
Mendoza was known by many nicknames, such as “La Alondra de la Frontera” (The Meadowlark of the Border). In their early years of performing, “La Familia Mendoza” (the Mendoza family) would hitchhike around south Texas, performing for farm laborers. Answering an advertisement in a Spanish-language newspaper resulted in their first recording sessions with Okeh Records. She was only 12 years old, but Lydia provided vocals and played the mandolin for the recordings. They eventually caught the notice of San Antonio radio personality Manuel J. Cortez and were offered a recording contract with the RCA Victor subsidiary of Bluebird Records. During World War II, and for several years afterward, Mendoza and her sisters Juanita and Marie performed as Las Hermanas Mendoza (the Mendoza sisters). She fairly quickly emerged as the headliner of the group, but her family continued to perform with her as she toured. Not only did she perform throughout the United States, but also in Canada and Latin America, where her attendance records were estimated to be 20,000.
She was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1984, she was inducted into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame, and in 1991, into the Conjunto Music Hall of Fame. For her contributions to the performing arts, she was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1999, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by First Lady Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton, and in 2003 she was bestowed with the Texas Cultural Trust’s Texas Medal of Arts. She designed and sewed her own stage costumes, and at one point was an instructor at California State University, Fresno. Mendoza was married twice and the mother of three daughters. Ever the consummate live entertainer, she twice retired from performing but went back to singing both times. A stroke in her 60s finally brought an end to her career.

instruments played
Guitar
Twelve-string
Genres

Tejano, conjunto

Occupations

Singer, guitarist

Years Active

1928 1998

Name

Lydia Mendoza

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