Juan Tejeda is a musician, writer, ex-jefe danzante Mexica-Azteca, arts administrator, educator, activist, editor and publisher. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Chicano Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and his Master of Arts degree in Bicultural Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
For eighteen years (1980-1998), he was the Xicano Music Program Director for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center where, among his many duties, he created the internationally renowned Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio and directed it during its first seventeen years; created and edited the GCAC Newsletter and Tonantzin; directed the Performing Arts Series; produced the opera Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe which was composed by Dr. Edward C. Garza; created and implemented music classes for the community (including classes in the button accordion, bajo sexto, voice, violin, guitar, Latin percussion, mariachi group, and others); and produced various live audio/video productions including The Best of the Tejano Conjunto Festival (1989, 1997, and more recently, eight CD’s from 2008-2015), and The Best of the 11th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival, 1992 (video). He still works as a consultant for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and the Tejano Conjunto Festival.
He has written and lectured extensively on the history and socio-cultural significance and importance of Tejano and Conjunto music and is the co-editor of the acclaimed book Puro Conjunto: An Album in Words and Pictures/Writings, Posters, and Photographs from the Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio, 1982-1998 (2001), published by the Center for Mexican American Studies/University of Texas at Austin and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and distributed by the University of Texas Press. He wrote the Preface and captions for John Dyer’s historic book of photographs, Conjunto (2005/University of Texas Press), and he is also the author of a book of poems, short stories and songs entitled Enamorado, en la guerra, y reconociendo la tierra, Aztlan ’76-’78 (1980/M&A Editions, San Antonio, Texas).
Tejeda has taught Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio (2000-2002), and recently (December, 2016), after 15 years, he retired as a tenured full-time faculty member from Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas, where he established, and was the Lead Faculty for, the Center for Mexican American Studies, was a professor of Mexican-American Studies and Music, and where, since 2002, he created and directed the first Conjunto Music Program at the college/university level in the nation.
For the last eight years he has been very active with Somos MAS/Mexican American Studies San Antonio, Tejas and the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Foco in implementing MAS courses from Pre-K-12th grade in Texas schools. And for the last five years, he was part of a statewide coalition that fought for a MAS course for high school students before the Texas State Board of Education that culminated with its historic approval this past September, 2018. This is the first time in U.S. history that a state board of education approves a MAS course and the first time in Texas history that an Ethnic Studies course of any kind is approved. This decision by the state board also created a pathway for the implementation of other courses in Native American Studies, African American Studies, Latino Studies and Asian/Pacific Islander Studies.
Juan Tejeda and his wife, Anisa Onofre, are the owners and Co-Publishers of Aztlan Libre Press, an independent publishing house based out of San Antonio, Texas, that is dedicated to the publication, promotion, and free expression of Native American/XicanX literature and art. Aztlan Libre Press was established in 2010 and they have published eleven books, among them: alurista’s Tunaluna (2010); and the award-winning A Crown for Gumecindo (2015) by former San Antonio and Texas Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero. Their latest publication is Las Nalgas de Jlo/Jlo’s Booty: The Best & Most Notorious Calumnas & Other Writings by the First Chicana Columnist in Texas (2017) by award-winning columnist and novelist Barbara Renaud González.
Tejeda is the button accordionist and vocalist for the Conjunto Aztlan. They have released two CD’s: their debut, self-titled, Conjunto Aztlan (1998), that is all music and poetry from the Chicano Movement; and From Aztlan With Love c/s a/f (2005), which includes 13 original love songs (7 of which were written by Tejeda). He recently finished his third CD, and first produced with his primo hermano, Armando Tejeda, titled Raíz XicanX, which is scheduled to be officially released on November 17, 2018. Raíz XicanX also includes many of Tejeda’s original songs.
Tejeda was inducted into the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame in Alice, Texas, in 2016, and the Texas Conjunto Hall of Fame in San Benito, Texas in 2017. He is married to Anisa Onofre, the proud father of three children: Zitlalli Aztlan Libre, Juan Francisco Tonatiuh and Maya Quetzalli, and a first-time abuelo to Ella.
Juan Tejeda is available for musical presentations as a duet with Juan & Armando Tejeda, and with his full band, Conjunto Aztlan; as well as consulting work and lectures, workshops and presentations, with or without music (drum, flute, button accordion, songs), on such subjects dealing with Chicano/XicanX History, XicanX Music & Culture, Tejano/Conjunto Music History, the Tejano Corrido Tradition, XicanX Literature & Independent Publishing, and other topics.
Mi Estimado Juan, your website is great and many people follow your lead on a number of topics and issues. I remember the first time I saw you. My compadre Richard Nevarez (RIP) and I were in Austin at some large dance club on Ben White. I don’t remember the name of it. You were walking and you told us that you had lost your mochila. Then you asked us if we had seen it. We both replied in the negative and you continued your search. This was in 1978. Some years later I saw you at the Conjunto Festival in San Antonio and we began to converse. Your time and effort in promoting la cultural is much appreciated. I am glad to know you and call you a camarada. Alfredo Santos c/s
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Saludos, carnal Alfredo. Yep, we go back. I ended up finding that mochila. Someone had ripped it off and thrown it on someone’s roof and the owners found it and I had my telephone number in the bag and they called me up. Que loco, no? Appreciate you, too, and all the work you have done for our Raza and publishing La Voz. Pa’lante, camarada. The best of salud y paz para usted y su familia. Hablamos. Juan c/s