Tejano music legend Lydia Mendoza is being recognized, immortalized and given the respect many feels she deserves for her contributions to the American musical scene.
The United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating “The Lark Of The Border,” her nickname, whose minimalist Tejano sound was compared to a Spanish-language version of the blues.
“The Postal Service is proud to introduce its new Music Icons stamp series with the issuance of this Forever Stamp honoring the first lady of Tejano music, Lydia Mendoza,” said Marie Therese Dominguez, Vice-President of Government Relations and Public Policy for the postal service.
“Mendoza was a true American pioneer, whose unique voice and style of singing, paved the way for a whole new generation of Latino performers," Dominguez added. "Her impact on music guarantees her place in American music history, and today her legacy continues on 30 million postage stamps.”
The Music Icons Series isn’t some obscure list. Some of the other icons to be released as part of this stamp series include renowned crooners such as Johnny Cash and Ray Charles.
Mendoza performed the Spanish-language music of the Texas-Mexico borderlands, singing to and about the poor and working-class people on both sides of the Rio Grande.
Mendoza was soulful and usually accompanied only by her 12-string guitar.
She recorded more than a thousand songs in a career that lasted seven decades.
Her first hit was “Mal Hombre” in 1934 and her career included many major highlights such as singing at Jimmy Carter’s inaugural celebration in 1977, receiving a National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts and being awarded the National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton in 1999.
Mendoza retired in 1988 after suffering a stroke. She died in San Antonio in 2007 at 91.
Mendoza’s stamp features the singer at her peak, wearing a traditional Mexican-styled dress and holding her guitar with the Texas flag superimposed in color over her.
Mendoza isn’t the only Latino musician to be immortalized by the U.S. Postal Service.
Ritchie Valens was put on a stamp in 1993 and in 2011 the postal service released a Latin Music Legends series, which featured Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Carmen Miranda, Carlos Gardel and Selena.