Tex-Mex legend Freddy Fender’s Yuba College February 9 concert date has been postponed to May 3. Fender had a kidney transplant in late January. His daughter, 21 year-old Marla Huerta Garcia, donated the kidney.
Fender won a Grammy Award on February 27 for Best Latin Pop Album for his new album “La Musica de Baldemar Huerta.” Freddy Fender’s real name happens to be Baldemar Huerta.
One of the surgeons involved with Freddy Fender’s operation, Dr. Ken Washburn, told the Associated Press that the operation was “uneventful and very straightforward.” Fender was released after a week, and Garcia was released after 2 days.
Yuba College students looking forward to Fender’s performance can rest assured, as the concert has been rescheduled for May 3, coincidentally the weekend before Cinco de Mayo.
Concertgoers can expect material off of Fender’s new latin folk album, as well as some older favorites from the Texas Tornadoes and his solo career, such as “Hey Baby, Que Paso?” “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” and “Before the Last Teardrop Falls.”
Freddy Fender is “One of the original Mexico-to-America crossover artists, making hits since the mid 1950’s,” according to Fine Arts and Language Arts Dean Jay Drury. “He had hits in spanish in the mid-1960’s, and more or less created Tex-Mex music,” a hybrid of rock and roll and country music styles popular in the southwestern U.S.Freddy Fender is also famous for his involvement in the popular Tex-Mex band The Texas Tornadoes. Fender, Flaco Jimenez, Doug Sahm and Augie Myers played a vibrant style of music featuring Latin American flavors, the twang and beat of country and Ranchero-style accordion.
At press time, Augie Myers, who has also appeared with Bob Dylan on his two most recent albums, was scheduled to appear with Fender in concert here at Yuba College. Fender also was part of the 90’s latino supergroup Los Super Seven, with members of Los Lobos and fellow Texas Tornado Flaco Jimenez.
Fender’s life is “A great American story,” according to Jay Drury. “He was born poor as dirt in San Benito, Texas, didn’t have a great chance for success in his hometown, went to jail for marijuana possession, and, after release, turned out to have a great musical career. It’s amazing to see how many people consider Freddy Fender’s upcoming performance to be a top show of this year’s Cultural Events Series.””The reason I booked Freddy Fender this year was because I was interested in finding a Mexican-American artist and an Indian artist to perform to appeal to the diversity of the college,” said Drury. “Both Freddy and Anoushka (Shankar, who performed in a Cultural Events Series date earlier this semester) were my first choices. Because he’s a legendary singer with a rags-to riches background, Freddy was one of the first performers I could think of that had consistent hit potential. I can’t think of another Mexican-American artist with as many hits as Freddy.”
Freddy Fender has returned to his roots this past decade, with Los Super Seven and his new solo album. “I find it interesting that Spanish speaking artists have to sing in English to record in the U.S.,” said Drury. “Even in this era of World music, there’s still pressure for artists to drop their native languages and record in English to be successful in the US. Freddy Fender was of the first generation to go through this transition.”
“I’m really looking forward to seeing Freddy Fender perform here in person,” said Drury. “Artists enjoy playing at our theatre because it’s a small venue. Both the audience and the artists enjoy the closeness of our venue. The artists on the Cultural Events Series are accustomed to playing larger venues, and they love playing our theatre. The crowd reaction is great. I tell the performers before their concerts ‘You’re really gonna love playing here,’ and they sometimes shrug, but after they perform, they love it.”
“It’s too bad the Cultural Events Series got suspended,” continued Drury, “This audience is a great audience. We’ve been able to bring high-caliber artists to Yuba College, and have been able to interest students in other cultures. It’s a shame we have to drop this for a year or longer; we’ve worked really hard to put this on. The point of the Cultural Events Series was to bring in other cultures and observe them through their arts. I regret that we’ve lost a prominent sign of diversity on this campus.”
“I believe that the arts are the way to increase tolerance in society; it’s an easy window into other cultures,” said Drury. “Arts are all we know of many cultures, like the Greeks. These are the historic landmarks that will show people how these times were. As time goes on, people will recognize the Grateful Dead and the Beatles as part of our culture.”