Borderlands is aconcept that does not have to be seen to be considered borders and can often beplaced subconsciously by ourselves. These borderlands are unsettled and unclearand are consistently changing. The famous singer Rosita Fernández was born in Mexico but spent majority of her life inSan Antonio performing music.
Rosita was very popular in the San Antonio musicscene and eventually was inducted into both the San Antonio music hall of fame andthe Tejano Music Hall of Fame. Rosita’s induction into both of these hallsdemonstrates her diversity border including her Texan connection as well as herMexican connection since she is considered half Mexican and half Texan. Cityleaders requested she become San Antonio’s unofficial cultural ambassador,which is an “Old Mexico” symbol which reminds us of the border of her culturealways being present. What truly shows a border for the Mexican American singeris her popularity outside of San Antonio. Rosita is more prevalent in SanAntonio than anywhere else in the United States.
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Rosita had an incrediblecareer, being one of the most active performers of her culture, she performeduntil her retirement in 1982, yet, she still seems to be less appreciated inother areas. This lack of broader appreciation could lead us to question theborders we place on others and if it affects situations such as this one. Althoughshe was beloved in San Antonio, Rosita Fernández lacked the worldrecognition she so truly deserved in that eras tough, masculinist industry ofmusic. The singer’s music can act as a borderland as well.
When observing justher music, you will see that Fernández’s music appears to conflict with Chicanomusicality. She didn’t seem to be perfectly labeled to just a Mexican musicianor a American musician. That borderline then was created between both parts ofherself and merged to create the beautiful sounds of Tejano music that she wasable to share with several people. It is hard for Rosita to be appreciated tothe fullness that she deserves since she is barely mentioned within Chicanohistory of music. In the book, “Divas inChicana Music”, the author, Deborah Vargas, says, “Following the sounds ofher career requires us to open our ears to less stable sonic imaginaries of theborderlands and of Tejano representations and subjectivities.
” This capturesthe uniqueness that is Rosita Fernández and how even if she has to deal withborderlands. She used them to help make her a better musician that is proud tobe called a Mexican American Tejano singer.The phrase”Remember the Alamo” has deep history meaning that is now known and studied bypeople all over the world. This was the battle cry heard at the Battle of SanJacinto, to remember the Texans lost all of their fighters devastatingly in afrantic fight at the Alamo.
The battle took place because Texas was trying todepart from Mexico and it lead to Texas earning their independence. This battlecry reminded Texans that they should not surrender and could achiever victory againstgreat odds. Tejano music was very popular in Texas in the early 20thcentury, especially among the Mexican migrants. This type of music, Tejano music, is known for its instrumentation andorchestration and originated among the Mexican-American populations of Centraland Southern Texas.
Another typical notation of Tejano music of that timeperiod was that is typically consisted of mostly male musicians and singers.These were some of many stereotypes that Rosita Fernandez would overcome duringher long career. Rosita Fernandez begansinging as a child in a family band, which for afemale was very rare, even among family bands.
This was one stereotype shebroke early in life. In her early teens, Rosita began singing on radio and allover San Antonio. During an era that was mostly dominated mostly by maleperformers, Rosita became known for her poblanodresses and ballads.
A favorite spot for Rosita’s performances was theArneson River Theater on the San Antonio River near the River Walk. She was atrue attraction for the city and in 1982 a nearby bridge was named in herhonor. Another milestone achieved by Rosita Fernández was her many recordingsof Tejano ballads which made her an early pioneer as one of the first female Tejanasingers to record during that time period. She sang for many notorieties in her life including Lady Bird Johnson,who named her San Antonio’s First Lady of Song. She married at age 20 and continuedperforming under her maiden name which was also went again the norms of the day.
The author states that women in the borderlands have been aligned against race,class, sexuality and gender. “Remember the Alamo” can be applied to RositaFernandez as she did not back away from these challenges but instead pursuedher passion which helped lead to a sexist free music industry.