Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a true visionary who helped redefine Texas-Mexican music.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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Balde González was born on May 30, 1928, in Beeville, Texas. As a child, he attended the Texas School for the Blind in Austin, where he learned to play a variety of instruments. In 1948, González returned to Beeville. By the 1950s, he was leading one of the most popular orquestas, or orchestras, in the state. Blending traditional Texas-Mexican music with pop, jazz and big band swing, Balde González helped pave the way for the emergence of Tejano by the late 1970s.
Balde González moved to Houston in the 1960s, where he continued to perform until his death in 1974. In 1985, he was inducted into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate an educator whose legacy continues to resonate across the state.