Mexican Musicians in California and the United States, 1910-50

By Koegel, John | California History, Fall 2006 | Go to article overview

Mexican Musicians in California and the United States, 1910-50


Koegel, John, California History


Mexican musicians have continuously crossed the United States-Mexico international border in both directions in search of professional opportunities. The period from the time of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to approximately the middle of the twentieth century is especially important since it represents the time when Mexican (and Latin American) popular and art music came to prominent national attention throughout the United States, within and outside Spanish-speaking communities. The Mexican musicians profiled here, as well as countless others, have transmitted musical styles and repertories that have enriched musical life in both countries and have crossed the boundaries between the many manifestations of musical culture and mass media in the twentieth century: film, radio, television, recordings, musical theater, opera, concerts, and print media. They have also moved between a "mainstream" English-speaking context and local Latino society in California and the Southwest, New York, Chicago, and, more recently, in Mexican and Latino diasporas throughout the United States. While most of these musicians have been male, a significant number of women musicians have made important contributions to musical life on both sides of the border, especially in the popular music world. (1)

Significant work has been produced by a number of scholars concerned with popular music, recordings, popular culture, and cinema that is crucial to an in-depth understanding of the role of Mexican and Mexican American musicians in the United States. (2) Additionally, the outstanding and absolutely essential Frontera Collection of Mexican American Music (UCLA, Arhoolie and Los Tigres del Norte Foundations) makes available on the internet thousands of recordings of Mexican and Mexican American popular music, principally from the pre-World War II period, including recordings by some of the performers studied in this article. (3)

In recent years, significant interest has been aroused in the contributions of Latino performers in Hollywood, especially with the release of films such as the HBO/Cinemax documentary The Bronze Screen. (4) And the creative work of Latino writers is being studied as part of Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project (University of Houston). (5)

Because of the dispersed nature of the historical record, perhaps, and understandable nationalist sentiment, Mexican writers most often focus on the work of Mexican popular musical performers within Mexico and Latin America, and, to a lesser extent, on their activities in the United States. Chicano scholars naturally concentrate on the creation and reception of a distinctly Chicano or Latino popular culture in the context of Latino communities in the United States, along with their interest in and connections to Latin America. However, the extensive careers of the leading Mexican popular musicians in the United States--and especially in California--from the Mexican Revolution to the immediate post-World War II era have received much less attention in the scholarly literature, though the careers of important Mexican art music composers such as Manuel M. Ponce, Carlos Chavez, and Silvestre Revueltas and their connections to musical life in the United States have been extensively studied.

While the contributions of a number of musicians active on both sides of the border are examined here, the life and career of one individual in particular is singled out for closer scrutiny: Mexican operatic tenor, film star, recording artist, and recitalist Jose Mojica, who personified the urbane, middle- and elite-class musical establishments. Mojica moved easily between both countries, and between Spanish- and English-speaking audiences in California and throughout the United States. He also crossed the borders between high art and popular culture through his recordings of Mexican and Latin American popular songs, recital tours, and work in the early American cine hispano (Spanish-language cinema) of the 1930s, the Hollywood studio response to a perceived need for Spanish-language sound films, geared toward U.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mexican Musicians in California and the United States, 1910-50
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.