Las Tesoros de San Antonio
Las Tesoros de San Antonio, a group of elder women performers who teamed up to preserve Mexican and bicultural musical expressions through their singing and storytelling. Through the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, Janet "Perla Tapatia" Cortez (1931-2014), Beatriz "La Paloma del Norte" Llamas, Blanquita "Blanca Rosa" Rodriguez, and Rita "La Calandria" Vidaurri (1925-2019) teamed up as the group Las Tesoros in the 2000s. Although Janet Cortez (not pictured) and Rita Vidaurri passed away in recent years, Llamas and Rodriguez continue to perform and maintain the legacy of the group. All four women grew up in the West Side of San Antonio, Texas and each singer, with her personal style and grace, forms part of this unique ensemble that represents the important sound of the Mexico/Texas border.
Blanca "Blanquita Rosa" Rodriguez was raised in San Antonio, Texas, where she began singing at the age of five. At age 13, Rodriguez won first place in her first performance at the Teatro Guadalupe, which led her to sing on KCOR radio and at Teatro Zaragoza. She toured the United States and Mexico, performing with groups like Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, Mariachi America, Mariachi de Ramon Palomar, and Los Reyes de Jalisco, and singing stars like Amalia Mendoza, Charro Avitia, Vicente Fernandez, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, and Juan Mendoza. In addition to performing, Rodriguez is an active music teacher, instructing and coaching her students in singing techniques.
Beatriz "La Paloma del Norte" Llamas is a Mexican singer born in 1938 in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She moved to Texas when she was 11, and a few years later in 1951, she entered her first talent contest. Although she lost the contest to Eva Ybarra (2017 NEA National Heritage Fellow), Llamas entered another contest and won, launching her career and allowing her to sing on radio shows and tour with different musical acts. Llamas began recording singles for Sombrero Records in addition to sharing the stage with Alberto and Arturo Lopez, whom she later married. Llamas also worked with KCOR- one the country's first full-time, Spanish-language radio stations. She was inducted into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Tejano Conjunto Hall of Fame in 1999.
Anita Janet Cortez "Perla Tapatía" (1931-2014) was a trailblazing ranchera singer from the Westside of San Antonio who performed throughout the United States and Mexico. Born in San Antonio to a single mother in 1931 who gave her up for adoption, Perla grew up a Mexicana adopted by the Cortez family. Perla got her first big break when she sang with Mexican comic Tin Tán at the Municipal Auditorium in the mid-1950s. She was a role model for the LGBT community, and she became the only known singer to sing with a tracheostomy.
Rita Vidaurri “La Calandria” (1925-2019) – Rita was a successful performer in Mexico in and throughout Central and South America in the 1940s. She toured Cuba with legends Celia Cruz and Olga Guillot. Over the years, Rita performed with famous artists including Tin Tán, Pedro Vargas, Trío Tariacuri, Lalo ‘El Piporro’ González, Cantinflas, Nat King Cole and many more. In 1957, she was selected as the Jax Beer Poster model. In 2004, Esperanza produced her CD, “La Calandria,” returning Rita to the singing circuit.
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