Lydia Mendoza

Lydia Mendoza (May 31, 1916 – December 20, 2007) was a Mexican-American guitarist and singer of Tejano and traditional Mexican-American music. Historian Michael Joseph Corcoran has stated that she was "The Mother of Tejano Music", an art form that is the uniquely Texas cultural amalgamation of traditional Mexican, Spanish, German, and Czech musical roots. She recorded on numerous labels over the course of her six-decade career of live performing. The aggregate total of her records numbers an estimated 200 different Spanish-language songs on at least 50 LP record albums. In 1977, she performed at the Inauguration of President Jimmy Carter, as part of the line-up for the Inaugural Folk Dance and Concert. Her most well-known tune was "Mal Hombre" (Bad Man), a song she had heard as a child.

She was born in Houston, Texas, into a Mexican musical family originally from San Luis Potosí. The family had fled Mexico at the onset of the Mexican Revolution, after which they returned home for two years. When she was four years old, the family once again immigrated to Texas. Although she lived most of her life in the United States, primarily Texas, she never spoke any language but Spanish. The family moved frequently to find work and entertained other migrant workers wherever they went.

Mendoza was known by many nicknames, such as "La Alondra de la Frontera" (The Meadowlark of the Border). In their early years of performing, "La Familia Mendoza" (the Mendoza family) would hitchhike around south Texas, performing for farm laborers. Answering an advertisement in a Spanish-language newspaper resulted in their first recording sessions with Okeh Records. She was only 12 years old, but Lydia provided vocals and played the mandolin for the recordings. They eventually caught the notice of San Antonio radio personality Manuel J. Cortez and were offered a recording contract with the RCA Victor subsidiary of Bluebird Records. During World War II, and for several years afterward, Mendoza and her sisters Juanita and Marie performed as Las Hermanas Mendoza (the Mendoza sisters). She fairly quickly emerged as the headliner of the group, but her family continued to perform with her as she toured. Not only did she perform throughout the United States, but also in Canada and Latin America, where her attendance records were estimated to be 20,000.

She was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1984, she was inducted into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame, and in 1991, into the Conjunto Music Hall of Fame. For her contributions to the performing arts, she was inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1999, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by First Lady Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton, and in 2003 she was bestowed with the Texas Cultural Trust's Texas Medal of Arts. She designed and sewed her own stage costumes, and at one point was an instructor at California State University, Fresno. Mendoza was married twice and the mother of three daughters. Ever the consummate live entertainer, she twice retired from performing but resumed singing both times. A stroke in her 60s finally brought an end to her career.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 31, 1916 (Houston), Died December 20, 2007 (San Antonio)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928 - 1950

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, guitar, violin, mandolin, composer, leader, lyricist, songwriter, arranger

Notes: Name appears as Lidya Mendoza on most Victor and Bluebird disc labels.

See Also: Mendoza, Lidya

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 245 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-82636 10-in. 3/27/1934 Ojitos de mi chata Cuarteto Monterrey por la Familia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental ensemble vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-82637 10-in. 3/27/1934 Por tus amores Cuarteto Monterrey por la Familia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental ensemble vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-82638 10-in. 3/27/1934 Ojitos negros y chinos Cuarteto Monterrey por la Familia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental ensemble vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-82639 10-in. 3/27/1934 La china Cuarteto Monterrey por la Familia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental ensemble vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-82640 10-in. 3/27/1934 Para que necesitas a mi amor Cuarteto Monterrey por la Familia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental ensemble vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-82641 10-in. 3/27/1934 Castos sueños Cuarteto Monterrey por la Familia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental ensemble vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-82642 10-in. 3/27/1934 Mal hombre Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar composer, instrumentalist, guitar, lyricist, vocalist  
Victor BVE-82643 10-in. 3/27/1934 Al pié de tu reja Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-82644 10-in. 3/27/1934 No puedo dejar de quererte Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-82645 10-in. 3/27/1934 Lejos Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-82646 10-in. 3/27/1934 La última copa Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-82647 10-in. 3/27/1934 Lamento borincano Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-83918 10-in. 8/10/1934 Sigue adelante Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-83919 10-in. 8/10/1934 Lidya Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-83920 10-in. 8/10/1934 Viviré para ti Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-83921 10-in. 8/10/1934 Pero hay que triste Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitars instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-83922 10-in. 8/10/1934 Los besos de mi negra Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-83923 10-in. 8/10/1934 Mundo engañoso Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BVE-83924 10-in. 8/10/1934 No me anuncies Cuarteto Mendoza ; Lydia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental quartet vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-83925 10-in. 8/10/1934 Toma este puñal Cuarteto Mendoza ; Lydia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental quartet vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-83926 10-in. 8/10/1934 China de los ojos negros Cuarteto Mendoza ; Lydia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental quartet vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-83927 10-in. 8/10/1934 Si estás dormida Cuarteto Mendoza ; Lydia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental quartet vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-83928 10-in. 8/10/1934 María, María Cuarteto Mendoza ; Lydia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental quartet vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-83929 10-in. 8/10/1934 Una rancherita Cuarteto Mendoza ; Lydia Mendoza Vocal and instrumental quartet vocalist, instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-87815 10-in. 1/31/1935 Siempre te vás Lydia Mendoza Female vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
(Results 1-25 of 245 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Mendoza, Lydia," accessed May 22, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105196.

Mendoza, Lydia. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105196.

"Mendoza, Lydia." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 22 May 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105196

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