Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hispanic music history honors Tejano legends

Trail of Tejano Legends' leads to Hispanic music history
By: Veronica Castelo NEWS8AUSTIN 3/9/2009

Tejano music can be heard all over the country but it hasn't always had national acclaim.

Roy Montelongo, Grammy award winner Ruben Ramos and his brother Alfonso Ramos, Nash Hernandez Sr., and the Perez brothers paved the way for future generations.

Local artist Connie Arismendi said they were all trailblazers who lived in East Austin.

"These men created music at a time when it was not very popular," Arismendi said.

To honor their contributions the City of Austin, through the Art in Public Places program, commissioned Arismendi to create permanent public artworks.

"East Austin is changing and growing and I think it's important to recognize the cultural contribution from the citizens here in East Austin," Arismendi said.

The sculptures at the Roy Montelongo Scenic Overlook, Nash Hernandez Road, and Perez and Ramos Plaza at the Mexican American Cultural Center honor the musical contributions of Austin's Tejano and Hispanic Communities.

This city council lead initiative was made possible with the help of the Austin Latino Music Association, Art in Public Places, the Parks and Recreation Department, the Hispanic Community and former city council member Raul Alvarez.

"By having a public amenity such as the Trail of Tejano Legends, we can also demonstrate to the rest of Texas and beyond that Austin has played a pivotal role when it comes to Tejano and Conjunto music," Alvarez said.

Ruben Hernandez is pleased with the tribute to his dad and hopes this will remind people of just how diverse Austin's music scene really is.

"They are showcasing Hispanic artists so not only do we have Stevie Ray on one side of the lake, now we have my dad," Hernandez said.

The City will unveil the Trail of Tejano Legends on Saturday, March 14 at 10 a.m. at the Mexican American Cultural Center.

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