Look, I'm a guera. I don't speak a lot of Spanish (although I did pretty good when I got my haircut a few weeks ago...) And it's only been a couple of years since I started listening to Tejano. But in that short amount of time, I have fallen completely in love with it.
Every day, I learn more and more. I learn the history. I learn the artists. I learn the songs. I learn the business.
I tend to listen to music with a critical ear, regardless of genre. If it's good, it's good. If it's not, it's not. Passion and well-developed natural talent appeal to me.
One thing I can do really well is analyze. I pick something up, look at it from every angle, inside and out, and see how it works (or doesn't work). And that's what I'm doing with my exploration into La Onda Tejana.
As I get more and more into the music, I try to go to every show I can. And I've been fortunate enough to see some of the legends this year. But I usually have to go out of town to Lockhart, San Marcos, etc., and that's pretty disappointing when Austin claims to be the "Live Music Capital of the World." What kind of music, exactly, is available 24/7? Shitty rock played by dirty white kids, that's what. Or worse, Bob Schneider clones...*shudder.*
I'd like to see a vibrant Tejano music scene like they have in San Antonio. We're not that far away geographically, so it's not asking for much. So, with my previously trumpeted powers of analysis, here's what I've come up with to make this happen:
PROMOTE THE HELL OUT OF EVERY SHOW!
The more people go to shows, the more bands will want to come here. The only reason why 20 people go to shows is because nobody else knew it was going on. And those 20 people probably only knew about it because they heard it from each other, who heard it from their cousin or their Tia Chencha, who saw a flyer at Little Mexico. Nobody wants to go on the road to Austin if they think they're only going to make $150. Part of this is the promoter, but their hands are tied if they can't find anyone to listen and help get the message to get out.
Which leads me to media...After several years, Austin has a Tejano station again. It has its problems, as we've already pointed out in previous posts, so I won't belabor that point. But the hard part is over for them - they have the license, they have the equipment. They are the de facto voice of Tejano in this town, with the added benefit of being a media outlet. So why do I hear about a show for the first time the day before it happens when I listen to the station all week?
So, we here at Rancho Alegre have decided to take the lead, in the absence of leadership. You'll find an event calendar on this website. I am scouring the internet (usually by going to individual bands' Myspace pages and websites) to find out who's coming to town (or San Marcos or Seguin - I'll take what I can get), when, and where.
It is my hope that someone else will find it useful and tell a friend, a coworker, Tia Chencha (of course) and more people will go to these shows. And hopefully that will then get back to more than few promoters. And then! I won't have to go look for this information, it will come to me.
And then! Austin will remember that Tejano's not dead, and Tejano will remember that Austin's got a lot of brown soul! (Somewhere in the neighborhood of 35% and steadily rising, according to the city's demographer.)
So, Tia Chencha, if you're reading this, send me some leads. I'm sure you've seen a flyer or two somewhere. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've got other ideas, which I will again entertain you with soon, so stay tuned.