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This Week in Texas Music History: Emilio Navaira
by Stephen Becker 19 Aug 2011

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a man who blended conjunto and country to become the king of Tejano.


Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman tells us about a man who blended conjunto and country to become the king of Tejano.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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Emilio Navaira was born in San Antonio on Aug. 23, 1962. One of his earliest influences was Roberto Pulido, a pioneer in combining conjunto and country music. Upon graduating from high school, Navaira won a choir scholarship to attended Texas State University. However, he soon left to pursue a professional music career. His first CD, Sensaciones, produced several hits in the Tejano market.

Navaira adopted the stage name “Emilio,” and recorded a string of hits that reflected both country and Tejano influences. His 1995 CD, Life is Good, sold over half a million copies. Emilio’s appearance with Tejana superstar Selena at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo that same year broke all previous attendance records for a matinee performance and earned him the nickname the King of Tejano.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll honor a little known musician who played a big role in redefining jazz.