News Column

Tejano music special coming to KLRU

June 8, 2013

YellowBrix

June 08--Grammy-winning acts Little Joe y La Familia , Ruben Ramos and the Mexican Revolution, and Joel Guzman with Sarah Fox are scheduled to appear in one-hour special being produced by KLRU for broadcast later this year on the public television station.

The special is part of a number of KLRU events timed to coincide with the airing of the highly anticipated PBS documentary series "Latino Americans," on PBS in September.

Taping of the one-hour special, which has the working title "Austin Baile" -- a nod to the show's concert and dance format -- is set for July 11 at KLRU studios at the University of Texas. A broadcast date has not been set.

"This program will capture the different styles of Mexican-American music and the family atmosphere of the dance halls in which they are performed," said Maury Sullivan, senior vice president for community engagement with KLRU.

Sullivan said the show was conceived in a bit of perfect timing, after a recent conversation between KLRU CEO Bill Stotesbury and music promoter Leonard Davila, both who independently had wanted to do a Tejano music program for some time.

Sullivan said Davila has been a "driving force" in lining up the acts and putting the show together.

Davila, whose Crossroads Events produces the annual Mexican American Experience concert series at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, said he initially envisioned the Tejano special as a project suitable for "Austin City Limits."

That long-running concert series has had Latino acts before, Davila said, "but this is Tejano based." He said he selected the acts because they play "a variety of stuff," and because he doesn't like it when Tejano acts get stereotyped as being unable to stretch creatively.

"I just like to show the diversity (of Tejano acts). That's been my goal each and every time I have a chance to talk to someone about Tejano music," Davila said.

Leonard said he advocated for the concert-dance format because dancing is ingrained in the Tejano music genre. As the taping date draws near, KLRU will use social media and its website to invite the public to be part of the dancing audience, Sullivan said.

According to PBS, "Latino Americans" is the first major documentary series for television to chronicle the history and experiences of Latinos. The three-part, six-hour series documents the evolution of a new "Latino American" identity from the 1500s to the present day. It premieres at 8 p.m. Sept. 17 on KLRU and continues in two-hour blocks on Sept. 24 and Oct 1. The series will also broadcast in Spanish on KLRU's V-me channel (18.4) on six consecutive Fridays, starting Sept 20.

Other KLRU-sponsored events will center around Mexican American and Latino arts and culture. The station plans screenings of clips from "Latino Americans," and panel discussions on Sept. 10 at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center and on the UT campus. Times and the UT location will be announced.

In addition, KLRU's "Arts in Context" series will feature the group Los Pinkys in a program tentatively set to air Sept. 26. The show follows a week in the life of Los Pinkys as they try to keep Tejano music traditions alive in East Austin, where demographic change has been fast.

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