Two professors at the University of Texas San Antonio are harmonizing on a project designed to preserve a genre of music born in Alamo City.
Sylvia Mendoza and Gloria Vásquez Gonzáles, both from UTSA’s Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, have received $5,000 from the school’s Westside Community Partnerships Initiative to document what’s known as the West Side Sound. UTSA describes the West Side Sound, which is said to have originated here in the 1950s, as a fusion of jazz, R&B, and Tejano music.
The West Side Sound Oral History Project will feature elements such as interviews, photos, and recordings.
Mendoza, whose father was a musician, grew up listening to her mother describe the West Side Sound.
“They didn’t know it as the West Side Sound then, as they were living it,” Mendoza says in a UTSA news release. “She just knew it was the dudes from the neighborhood, musicians from the area who were getting together and playing Motown songs.”
The Keyhole Club was one of the West Side venues where visitors could regularly hear this special sound.
Mendoza and Gonzáles have teamed up with Jaime Macias and Norberto “Geremy” Landin to carry out the project. Macias owns Jaime’s Place, a West Side bar and community gathering place, while Landin is director of equity and social advocacy for Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores and a member of the Bexar County Historical Commission.