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Enjoy fun in the sun during Life@50+, May 14-16, 2015

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Tejana Legends

A look at Tejana music pioneers – radical in their time – and the path they paved for Selena and others

Rosita Fernandéz, Tejana Legends

Tejana legend and singer Rosita Fernández and band at WOAI radio. — Photo by: Courtesy of the University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

En español | Alejandra "Alex the Jet" Rodriguez, 11, already has calluses on her delicate fingers. She plays accordion at Jovita's, an Austin club. Her aunt Mary Castillo's love of the queens of Tejano music who reigned in the 1930s and '40s led to Castillo signing Alex up for lessons with legendary accordion player Joel Guzman.

See also: Selena's legacy.

Tejano (Tex-Mex) music originated among Mexican Americans in Texas. Traditionally male-dominated, women had to fight for a place in the spotlight. The genre eventually produced the female artists Castillo revered and, later, superstars like Selena.

Alex says she doesn't expect to encounter the criticism her predecessors did — though men typically play the accordion. Her experience, she says, will be different: "Being a girl won't be a problem for me. I will play the accordion forever."

Next: Lydia Mendoza as "La Cancionera de los Pobres." >>

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