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Visit the Legends of Tejano Music Exhibit in San Marcos

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Tony Maples Photography


It would be fair to say that Tejano music was born in South Texas and is as unique to our state as queso and barbacoa. At the turn of the century, Tejanos were mostly involved in ranching and agriculture. The only diversion was the occasional traveling musician who would come to the ranches and farms. Their basic instruments were the flute, guitar, and drum, and they sang songs that were passed down through the generations from songs originally sung in Mexico. This was how the music genre “Tejano” began.

Today, you can celebrate the rich history of Tejano music at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos through a stunning exhibition called the Legends of Tejano Music, featuring treasured artifacts from the world-class collection of the famed musicologist, photographer, and historian, Ramón Hernández. This exhibition shows how Tejano music evolved from the early 1900s to present day through a series of hybrids, and how it continues to spin off into new genres.

Legends of Tejano Music

Tejano exhibit

Photo: Facebook/Texas State University

Legends of Tejano Music takes visitors on a musical journey of nearly a century, using historic photographs, one-of-a-kind stage outfits, vintage concert posters, rare recordings, artifacts and instruments from legendary stars like Lydia Mendoza, Laura Canales, Freddy Fender, Little Joe Hernández, Sunny Ozuna, Selena, and much more.

David Coleman, director of the Wittliff Collections, said he and his staff entrusted the project to Hernãndez due to his expertise in the subject of Tejano art. “He’s the expert, he knows the material, kind of like encyclopedic knowledge,” Coleman said. “We gave him some tips on what kind of works in this space, but basically he had total freedom setting up.”

The Exhibit Runs Through December 20

Legends of Tejano Music

Photo: Facebook/Texas State University

The Legends of Tejano Music exhibit, which displays several cases in a timeline order starting with the left side of the room, took almost a month to put together. Hernãndez, his wife, and the Wittliff staff worked extensively almost every day leading up to the unveiling of the works. The exhibit is located on the campus of Texas State University in San Marcos and runs through December 20. To learn more about the exhibit, visit the Wittliff Collection’s website or Facebook page.