One of the first and greatest stars of Tejano music, Lydia Mendoza (1916-2007) is seen strumming her 12-string guitar on this lively stamp, one of several that inaugurates the Music Icons series.
This square stamp captures the look of a vintage 45-rpm record sleeve, down to a slight weathering away of the colors. The stamp art features a black-and-white publicity photo of Mendoza taken in the 1950s. The flag of Texas, Mendoza’s home state, is splashed across the photo, its vertical blue bar and horizontal red stripe providing the stamp’s only color.
Nicknamed La Alondra de la Frontera, the Lark of the Border, Lydia Mendoza performed the Spanish-language music of the Texas-Mexico borderlands and beyond. She is best known for her solo performances, her soulful voice accompanied only by the playing of her 12-string guitar. Mendoza recorded more than a thousand songs in a career that spanned seven decades. Through her music, she gave a voice not only to the poor and working-class people of the border, but also to Latinos throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Born into a musical family, Mendoza first performed with her mother, father, and sister in stores and restaurants. After winning a singing contest on the radio, she recorded several solo cuts for Bluebird Records in 1934, including “Mal Hombre” or “Evil Man,” which went on to become her biggest hit.
Neal Ashby and Patrick Donohue designed the stamp, working with art director Antonio Alcalá.