There's a gathering of Tejano musicians up in San Marcos on Sunday, but there will probably be far more talk than music there. That's because they will be talking about the music — its backstory, its context, its value.
“It's a current exhibit based on the collections of Ramon Hernandez, a music journalist and collector since the 1970s,” Saldaña said. “He's collected everyone who was anyone in Conjunto, Tejano and Tex-Mex music, meaning that he has collected sheet music, costumes, records, manuscripts. It's really an amazing collection of artifacts.”
Not only will memorabilia from the area be displayed, but Saldaña said several of the people who actually made it all happen will be there, too.
"The guests will be Sunny Ozuna of Sunny and the Sunliners, Little Joe Hernandez of Little Joe y la Familia, and Shelly Lares. Ramon Hernandez will be there and I will be moderating it.
“It's not going to be a nostalgia session
… it's more about putting the music in context, and critically evaluating it."
Saldaña says that many of those from that era, despite their popularity, didn't get their due in the music world.
"For example, Santiago Jimenez Sr., the father of Flaco Jimenez and Santiago Jimenez Jr., was an amazing songwriter,” he said. “Some of the songs he wrote I would argue are as good as anything by Bob Dylan, especially the corridos he did, which are songs about tragedy and injustice."
Saldaña hopes that sessions like this can finally begin to deliver some of the critical accolades the musicians deserve.
“A lot of performers have RSVP'd because they have a sense of pride in their music and you know, they also felt that maybe they've been a little ignored on the critical end,” he said
The free session starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, when you can mix with the artists themselves. The event runs until 4pm at the Alkek Library, 601 University Drive in San Marcos.
Find more on the Wittliff Collections here.