Music series

Things to do: Tejas Got Soul Music Series at Discovery Green

For seven years now, Houston Tejas has a soul worked to preserve and bring to light Houston’s rich Chicano musical history. What started as a collective DJ project focused on playing Chicano music from the past on Sundays at the D&W Lounge has morphed into a collective of like-minded individuals who are now pushing their mission to bigger events.

This Sunday, September 25, Tejas Got Soul and Discovery green will host their first event in a three-part series celebrating Houston Chicano music starting with a night of Tejano featuring a performance by the legendary band Tejano, Fever from Pasadena.
The series will also host a conjunto group, Los Monarcas by Pete and Mario Diaz with Fuerta Group Sunday, October 23 and “Houston Powerhouse” Avizo with a tribute to some of Houston’s late brown-eyed soul legends including Big Lu, Beto Perez and Rocky Gill.

There is also a plan to honor Mr. Houston himself – Archie Bell – whose career is directly linked to the Chicano Soul movement as Sunny & The Sunliners were the first band to take Bell on a national tour.

Each event represents an important chapter of our city’s major contributions to the range of genres that make up the Chicano music created by Mexican Americans over the years.

“People listen to Tejano music and think of the 90s boom, but in reality there are almost subgenres within Tejano. Tejano’s roots are in R&B,” says Isaac Rodriguez, one of the founders of Tejas Got Soul.

Rodriguez, along with Houston musician Nick Gaitan, started the project after finding a shoebox full of his grandmother’s 45 records filled with singles from artists like Sunny & The Sunliners, Little Joe y La Familia and The Latinaires. .

After listening to young Latinos make soul records in English and Spanish, Rodriguez knew he had to share the auditory pot of gold he had encountered.

He partnered with Discovery Green for a recent Blog where he shares his inspiration and journey for this project. Rodriguez will also be present during the event as emcee and provide the backstory for the performances.

“The Tejanos were Mexican American kids who grew up in the 50s and 60s and they did everything that American kids did. These guys were recording R&B and soul, so it’s a genre in the evolution of Tejano known as Chicano soul,” says Rodriguez.

Rodriguez and Gaitan began hosting weekly DJ events and expanded their team to include accordionist Roberto Rodriguez, Austin’s Angel Quesada and Pat Jasper. The team received a grant from National Arts Foundation and Houston Arts Alliance to make this series possible.

“It’s all Tejas Got Soul,” Rodriguez says. “It is in the continuity of the work that we have done. We’re taking our Tejas Got Soul from a Sunday DJ event to the big stage downtown and it’s a win for Tejanos.

Rodriguez and his team knew they wanted to focus on airing performances that represent the evolution of Chicano music and really focus on our city’s in-house talent. “We wanted to keep everything in and around Houston. San Antonio has its history, Austin has its history, but this is Houston.

“San Antonio has its history, Austin has its history, but this is about Houston.”

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Partnering with Discovery Green for this series is a two-way street as Tejas Got Soul has access to a larger space to share its mission and the bustling park has an opportunity to engage with Houstonians in a new way.

“Part of the joy I find in what we do is that we can work with people like Isaac. He is a member of the community and he studied his community. He knows these musicians, he knows how they fit together and he understands the progression. The way we love to program is to get to know people who know the area they are programming and work with them to bring it to the public and he’s just been an amazing partner,” says Susanne Theis, Director of Programming of the park. .

“It’s for the whole city,” Rodriguez said. “If you want to hang out and want to learn more about my culture and celebrate, you’re more than welcome. We’re inclusive for everyone. We want all colors to be there to say, it’s not just a Tejano and Chicano culture, it’s a Texas culture and its local culture.If you like to dance, this is the place for you.”

Tejas Got Soul Music Series kicks off Sunday, September 25 with a performance by La Fiebre followed by Los Monarcas by Pete y Mario Diaz and Grupo Fuerte on Sunday, October 23 and Avizo on Sunday, November 27 at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. The shows take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and are free.