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 honors a pioneering female in Tejano music.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday 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 KERA radio’s 90.1 at Night.
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Laura Canales was born Aug. 19, 1954, in Kingsville, Texas. She began her career in the 1970s singing with El Conjunto Bernal and other popular groups. However, Canales soon moved away from more traditional conjunto music and started to blend Mexican folk music with pop, country and rock and roll, singing in both English and Spanish. During the 1980s, she won the Tejano Music Awards “Best Female Vocalist” an unprecedented four years in a row. Along with her male counterparts, Laura Canales forged the early Tejano sound, which was rooted in traditional conjunto, but included electric guitars and synthesizers. Canales also helped lay the groundwork for the success of Selena Quintanilla and many other younger Tejano performers.