tish hinojosa

In the liner notes to her album Homeland, Tish Hinojosa writes of a dilemma she faced as she began to emerge as a singer/songwriter. She writes of "... wondering how my love for my parents' humble Mexican heritage and language would mix with idealistic images of a musical future." With four albums and one EP now behind her, Hinojosa has fashioned her blend of cultures into a compelling voice in American music. Typically a Tish Hinojosa album or concert moves effortlessly from songs of loves forgotten and family struggles remembered, of eloquent cries against injustice and playful evocations of sawdust dance floors, of the rolling endless highways of the Southwest to the lonely struggles of the disenfranchised.

Hinojosa was born Leticia Hinojosa in San Antonio to a large blended family, went to parochial school, listened to the songs of her parents as well as the Beatles and Woodstock, began her musical career doing jingles and recording for a small Tejano label before leaving Texas for Taos. In the spectacular beauty of northern New Mexico, she further honed her art and recorded an EP featuring three original songs. Nashville was her next stop.

Although she worked steadily -- touring, doing demo work, even recording a successful single, "I'll Pull You Through" for Curb Records -- she never felt that she could find her niche in Music City. She says, "Nashville requires a delicate balance. I began to see that incorporating aspects of my ethnic heritage into my music was a problem, at least at that time (early 80s)."

In 1985 Hinojosa returned to New Mexico where she recorded an independent cassette, Taos to Tennessee. The recording features some of her compositions which would later appear on Homeland, her 1989 A&M/Americana major label debut. Finding the opportunity for work limited as a Taos-based artist, she moved to Austin in the summer of 1988. She rapidly became an integral part of the vibrant Austin musical scene by making many club appearances but also standing tall for her social concerns by being a willing participant in benefits for migrant farmworkers. Her concern for the dangers of picking pesticide-laced crops was also evident in her song "Something in the Rain," a moving account of the tragedy of unsafe crop spraying practices told through the eyes of a small boy. Hinojosa also has a loyal following overseas and her touring itinerary often includes stops in Amsterdam and Scandinavia as well as the more familiar confines of clubs in Houston, Cambridge and Taos.

The highpoint of her recording career so far is the 1992 album Culture Swing on Rounder Records. This is an essential album in the classic folk tradition of Baez and Dylan. With all of the songs written by Hinojosa, Culture Swing is a singer/songwriter tour-de-force that bridges the folk and country idioms. The 1994 album Destiny's Gate carries on The Hinojosa tradition in the vein of Culture Swing.

Recently, Hinojosa has produced a couple of theme albums on the Rounder label: a collection of border songs, Frontejas (1995) and a bilingual album designed for kids, Cada Nino (Every Child) (1996).



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