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Obit: Lydia Mendoza, tejano star (Dec 2007)

27 Dec 07 - 09:43 AM (#2223171)
Subject: Obit: Lydia Mendoza, tejano star
From: GUEST,Scoville (out of town)

I almost missed this.

Lydia Mendoza, the "Lark of the Border", tejano music pioneer, died at the age of 91.

Tejano music pioneer Lydia Mendoza dies at 91
Born in Houston, the singer known as the 'Lark of the Border' was one of the first Mexican-American crossover superstars

SAN ANTONIO — Lydia Mendoza, a Tejano music pioneer known as "The Lark of the Border," has died. She was 91.

Mendoza, who retired and moved from Houston to San Antonio in 1988 after a series of strokes, died Thursday of natural causes at the Nix Medical Center.

Mendoza scored her first big hit, Mal Hombre (Evil Man), in the 1930s and became one of the era's first Mexican-American superstars by singing to the poor and downtrodden.

"She was the first and only real voice of Mexican-Americans," said Arhoolie Records owner Chris Strachwitz, who co-wrote an autobiography of the Mendoza family for Arte Publico Press.

"People always told me that Lydia sang to every class. She sang to the poor, and the wealthy loved her too."

Her memorable musical style earned her a National Medal of the Arts and a National Heritage Award fellowship. She was also asked to sing at Jimmy Carter's inauguration in 1977.

Mendoza recorded more than 200 songs on more than 50 albums, including boleros, rancheras, cumbias and tangos for such labels as RCA, Columbia, Azteca, Peerless, El Zarape and Discos Falcon. In addition to pursuing a solo career, she also enjoyed performing with her family.

Mal Hombre, released in 1934 on the Bluebird label, became a hit on both sides of the border and was her signature song. Other hits included La Valentina and Angel de Mis Anhelos.

Born in Houston, Mendoza learned to sing and play the 12-string guitar before she was 12, and later learned to play violin and mandolin.

Mendoza, a guest of honor at a 2006 tribute concert in San Antonio, was inducted into the Tejano Music Awards, Tejano Conjunto Festival and Texas Women halls of fame.

She is survived by her daughter, Yolanda Hernandez. She was preceded in death by two daughters, Lydia Alvarado Davila and Leonor Salazar.

A funeral Mass will be held Thursday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

27 Dec 07 - 05:37 PM (#2223405)
Subject: RE: Obit: Lydia Mendoza, tejano star (Dec 2007)
From: RangerSteve

Thanks for posting this. She sang in a way that you could understand her emotions, even if you didn't understand Spanish. And "Mal Hombre" is a true classic.

27 Dec 07 - 05:45 PM (#2223409)
Subject: Lyr. Add: Amor Bonito (Beautiful Love)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Adding 'un poquito' to the tribute posted by Scoville.

Lydia Mendoza learned to sing and play stringed insruments from her mother and grandmother; her family moving across the border to Monterrey and back, finally settling in Texas in 1927. Her first recording in 1928 was nade for Okeh. She performed an extensive repertoire, but did little composing- among her own was "Amor bonito," dedicated to her husband.
She preceded the development of 'música norteña, the distinctive south Texas-Nuevo León music, with button accordion and bajo sexto conjunto, best known to North American anglos through the music of Flaco Jimenez.

Lydia Mendoza

El mundo estará muy lleno
De amores y de querencias
Pero para me hay uno solo
Que da luz a mi existencia.
Mi amor es retebonito,
Brillante como un lucero
En las tristezas de mi alma
Me alegra con su recuerdo.
Doy gracias a mi Diosito,
Por lo bueno que es conmigo
Que siempre oye mis plegarias
A todo lo que le pido

Amor bonito, bonito,
Cariño, mi cariñito.

Amor bonito, bonito,
Cariño, mi cariñito.
Te quiero porque te quiero,
Porque eres mi amor bonito.
Tu amor es retebonito
Radiante como una estrella
Que pensado en tu cariño
Se acaban todas mis penas.
Dos gracias a mi Diosito
Por lo bueno que es conmigo.
Que siempre oye mis plegarias
A todo lo que le pido.

Lyr. Add" BEAUTIFUL LOVE (Amor bonito)
Lydia Mendoza, trans. Ideal-Arhoolie

The world could be full
Of love and romances
But for me there is only one
That has lighted my existence.
My love is extra beautiful
Bright as a shining star
In the sadness of my soul
I brighten when it comes to mind.
I give thanks to my dear God
For being so good to me
For always hearing my prayers
And everything that I ask.

My beautiful little love,
My darling, my little darling.

Beautiful, beautiful love of mine,
My darling, my dear one,
I love you because I love you,
Because you are my beautiful love.
Your love is extra beautiful
Radiant like a shining star
Thinking of your tenderness
Puts an end to all my sorrows.
I give thanks to my dear God
For being so good to me.
For always hearing my prayers,
And everything that I ask.

From booklet with the cd, "Tejano Roots, The Women," Ideal, Arhoolie 343 (1991).

27 Dec 07 - 09:19 PM (#2223497)
Subject: Lyr. Add: Mal Hombre (Lydia Mendoza)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Lydia Mendoza

Era yo chiquilla todavia
cuando tu casualmente me encontraste
y merced a tus artes de mundano
de mi honda el perfume te llevaste.
Luego hiciste conmigo lo que todos
los que son como tu, con las mujeres,
por lo tanto no te extrane que yo, ahora,
en la cara te diga lo que eres.

Mal hombre...
tan ruin es tu alma que no tiene nombre,
eres un canalla... eres un malvado...
eres un mal hombre.

A mi triste destino abandonada
entable fiera lucha con la vida
ella, recia y cruel me torturaba
yo agotada al fin... cai vencida.
Tu supiste a tiempo, mi derrota,
mi espantoso calvario conociste,
te dijeron algunos... ve a salvaria...
y probando quien eras... te reiste...
Poco tiempo despues en el arroyo
entre sombras mi vida se perdia.
Una noche con otra tu pasaste
y al mirarme oi que te decia...
Quien es esa mujer... tu la conoces...
y tu voz contestaba... una cualquiera...
y al oir de tus labios tal ultraje
me mostraba... fingiendo que tu no eras...

Mexican-American Border Music vol. 2, Lydia Mendoza. Arhoolie cd 7002.

Not completely sure of lyrics, taken from a German website:
Mal hombre

She may be heard singing the song here: Mal hombre

29 Dec 07 - 01:33 PM (#2224433)
Subject: RE: Obit: Lydia Mendoza, tejano star (Dec 2007)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)


30 Dec 07 - 01:21 AM (#2224726)
Subject: RE: Obit: Lydia Mendoza, tejano star (Dec 2007)
From: Stewie

I have only one LP of her. The wonder of her performance easily penetrated the language barrier. Lovely! My favourites from the album are the first two tracks:

PAJARITO HERIDO (The Wounded Bird)

Un lindo pajarito, cierta noche
herido refugiose en mi ventana
y yo le recogi compadecida
brindandole el calor que le faltaba

Le puse en un jaula primorosa
cuidabale con mimo noche e dia
y siempre que sus trinos escuchaba
cantaba asi, con gran melancolia

Pajarito, pajarito
que en tu jaula vives prisionero
yo tambien por un amor
iguai que tu cautiva muero
(se repite)

De un hombre zalamero y enganoso
sentiame a poco tiempo enamorada
al ver que mi galan era tan falso
rompi con su querer desenganada

Hoy dia que ha pasado tanto tiempo
recuerdo que le quiero todavia
y siempre que recuerdo al pajarito
suspiro asi, con gran melancolia

Pajarito etc

THE WOUNDED BIRD (Pajarito Herido)

One night, a lovely wounded bird
took refuge in my window,
feeling compassion,
I took him into the warmth of my home

I placed him in a beautiful cage
and looked after him night and day,
and when I heard the warble of his song,
with great sadness, I would also sing

Little bird, little bird
prisoner within your cage
I too am languishing
a prisoner of love

There was a man full of flattery and deceit
and I quickly fell in love with him
when I found out my lover was untrue
disallusioned, I broke up our affair

Even today after such a long time has gone by
I realise that I still love him
and whenever I think of that little bird
I sigh with great sadness

Little bird etc


Palida luna
noche de amor
noche serena
noche serena
que no volvio

Noche de ensueno
de inmenso amor
palida y bella
palida y bella
con bianco armino
con bianco armino
de un brillo al sol

Noche divina
perume mistico
plegaria intima
de libacion
y sella un coro de mis cantares
cuando a mi amada en sueno santo
iba a turbar

Mi triste noche de luna liena
noche apacible
noche de amor
cuando a mi amada liegare a cantarie
y a ofrendarie con toda mi alma
mi corazon

PALE MOON (Palida Luna)

Pale moon
night of love
serene night
serene night
that is gone forever

Night of illusions
of great love
pale and beautiful
pale and beautiful
with a white fur
with a white fur
brilliant as the sun

Sublime night
mystic perfume
intimate prayer
of inebriation
sealed with a chorus of my song
when I disturbed the saintly
dreaming of my beloved

My night is lonely
with a full moon
gentle night
when I came to sing to my beloved
offering my heart to her
with all my soul

Lyrics and translations from sleeve of Lydia Mendoza 'Part 2: Early Recordings from the 1930s: Texas-Mexican Border Music Vol 16' Folklyric LP 9024. Song lyrics and translations are by Guillermo Hernandez and Yolanda Zepeda. Both recordings were made in 1935.


30 Dec 07 - 11:38 PM (#2225280)
Subject: RE: Obit: Lydia Mendoza, tejano star (Dec 2007)
From: Severn

Was lucky enough to see her perform once at The National Folk Festival at Wolf Trap Park in Vienna, Virginia.

20 Mar 10 - 10:22 PM (#2868409)
Subject: RE: Obit: Lydia Mendoza, tejano star (Dec 2007)
From: GUEST,Pablo

esta canciòn ¿de quien es?
Un lindo pajarito
cierta noche
Herido refugiose
en mi ventana
Y yo le recogi
Prestándole el calor
que le faltaba
Le puse en una jaula
Adornada con claveles
que tenía
Pajarito (bis)
que volando vais
el mundo entero
Dile a mi amor
que no me espere
Que me encuentro

20 Mar 10 - 10:34 PM (#2868413)
Subject: RE: Obit: Lydia Mendoza, tejano star (Dec 2007)
From: GUEST,Seth from Olympia

Thanks to her for her wonderful music and guitar and thanks to Chris Strachwicz for bringing her to my attention in the 1970's. I have her album on Arhoolie and the other one of the Mendoza sisters(also on Arhoolie)which I have on my list to grab if the house burns down.

21 Mar 10 - 09:18 AM (#2868550)
Subject: RE: Obit: Lydia Mendoza, tejano star (Dec 2007)
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman

I echo what Seth said. It was the Strachwitz Folk-Lyric reissues of early Mexican recordings, including Lydia Mendoza's solo and with her family, that made that era's wonderful Mexican music a particular favorite for me.

She ranks right up there with the great women's voices like Amalia Rodriguez, Dorothy Love Coates or Bessie Smith, and deserves to be remembered with them.