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La Alondra de la Frontera - Live!

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Album Review

Rarely has a nickname been so apt as Lark of the Frontier (whose Spanish translation gives this album its title). Lydia Mendoza, who retired in 1988, showed she still had all her qualities in this 1982 performance at the University of California, Berkeley. Accompanied solely by her own 12-string guitar, giving the songs a rhythmic foundation, she's gloriously emotive on everything from boleros to corridos, and moves farther afield to take in "Tango Negro," which doesn't stretch her a bit. A consummate artist, she's also a splendid storyteller, but it's really the music that matters, and every song sparkles, with "Por Ti, Ay! Por Ti" a particular standout. "Torero" has plenty of drama, and you wouldn't think you were hearing a woman then in her sixties. There's a raw beauty to songs like "Gitana" that speak of a hard-won life, but Mendoza has always been a singer of and for the people, loving their chronicles. If you're looking for slick Latin music, this definitely isn't the place; but if you want something honest and moving, look no further.


Born: May 31, 1916 in Houston, TX

Genre: Regional Mexicano

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Dubbed "La Alondra de la Frontera," singer Lydia Mendoza was an early legend of Tejano music. Born May 21, 1916, in Houston, TX, she was the product of a musical family; she performed with her parents and sister Francisca in a group, La Familia Mendoza, which found success in local variety shows, and her other sisters Maria and Juanita made up their own popular duet act, Las Hermanas Mendoza. In 1928 Mendoza's father spotted an advertisement in a Spanish-language newspaper calling for musical groups,...
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La Alondra de la Frontera - Live!, Lydia Mendoza
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