Musica Nortena in Texas: A Historiography to Pave the Way to Future Research
Abstract: Historians and ethnomusicologists have been studying Mexican-American music in Texas since the late 1950s. Many of them study Tejano music, which is “a U.S. –based music genre that is associated with a Texas-Mexican and Chicano community that [has] constructed its identity as distinct.” This singular focus on Tejano music has allowed Norteño music to be understudied and excluded in manuscripts documenting Texas music. Known as the modern vehicle for the corrido, Norteño music is seen as the “music of immigrants…that celebrates Mexican culture, history, community relations, hard work, and resistance to assimilation.” However, as stated above, this history has not been included in a majority of manuscripts written about Texan music. Thus, this study has compared manuscripts documenting Tejano and Norteño music in an effort to see if both genres can be documented in a similar fashion.
Cathy Ragland of the University of North Texas with her book, Música Norteña: Mexican Migrants Creating a Nation between Nations, has given researchers a foundation to work with. Ragland covers a norteño music history that includes the majority of the United States, including Texas, but it provides only a broad overview of the topic. This has given myself, and many others, the opportunity to build upon norteño music history, specifically in West Texas which Ragland surprisingly missed. Linking West Texas into the narrative Ragland has provided will give interested readers an entire view of the state, rather than the minimal view of South Texas. This inclusion of West Texas will cover an area that gave prominent performers such as Ramon Ayala and Groupo Bronco the ability to become the acts they are today.
Jose Jose Navarrete*
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