Part of Arte y Corazón
Las Tesoros de San Antonio are a group of elder women performers whose incredible singing careers soared both locally and internationally in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. They include Rita “La Calandria” Vidaurri, Beatriz “La Paloma del Norte” Llamas, and Blanca “Blanquita Rosa” Rodríguez. A fourth member, Janet “Perla Tapatia” Cortez, passed away in 2014. Rita, Beatriz, and Blanca continue performing, recently having a CD Release Concert on February 11-12, 2017. Through the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, these women reemerged and teamed up to preserve our Mexican and bicultural musical expressions through their singing and storytelling.
All four artistas grew up in the Westside of San Antonio, Texas and are locally and internationally renowned performers. Each singer, with her personal style and grace, forms part of this unique ensemble that represents the important sound of the Mexico/Texas border and of San Antonio, Texas. Each woman was inspired by and connected to many other important Tejana singers including the great Lydia Mendoza and internationally recognized, Eva Garza, who died at an early age but opened doors for many other female singers including each of the Tesoros.
They are connected to each other and to traditions of community, convivencia and cultura that preserve our roots and cultivate progress in our comunidades. As women, as artistas, and as neighbors, they have supported each other throughout their careers by sharing, compartiendo everything from the spotlight to handmade costumes. Their singing careers soared in the 1940s-70s, tapering off due to family obligations and sexism in the music industry. Today, they re-emerge as a fierce trio, performing together, in honor of each other’s lifelong personal and professional struggles against racism, sexism, homophobia, and poverty. The performances and presentations of Las Tesoros de San Antonio leave all in attendance nostalgic for the past y orgullosos de nuestras raices in a rich musical cultura.
Las Tesoros are also now a part of the Texas Commission on the Arts Texas Touring Roster. Support may be available to assist with the Esperanza booking fees through the Arts Respond Performance Support grant program. This quarterly program provides support to Texas schools, libraries, and nonprofit organizations for hiring an artist from the TCA Touring Roster to give a performance, residency, or workshop. These applications are funded based on a sliding scale ranging from 30% to 50% of contracted fees. Support is based on TCA’s available funds. Contact TCA at 512.463.5535 for more information.
Rita Vidaurri “La Calandria” – Rita was a successful performer in Mexico in and throughout Central and South America in the 1940s. She toured Cuba with legends Celia Cruz and Olga Guillot. Over the years, Rita performed with famous artists including Tin Tán, Pedro Vargas, Trío Tariacuri, Lalo ‘El Piporro’ González, Cantinflas, Nat King Cole and many more. In 1957, she was selected as the Jax Beer Poster model. In 2004, Esperanza produced her CD, “La Calandria,” returning Rita to the singing circuit.
Beatriz Llamas “La Paloma del Norte” – Beatriz was born in Aguascalientes, MX and moved to San Antonio’s Westside with her parents at age 13. Soon after, she began touring with Mariachi Chapultepec and Conjunto Bernal, becoming a hit on the radio. In 1967, she became the 1st Tejana to perform at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In 1995, she was inducted into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame and in 1999 she was inducted into the Tejano Conjunto Hall of Fame.
Blanca Rodriguez “Blanca Rosa” – At age 13, Blanquita offered her first performance at the Teatro Guadalupe where she won 1st place in a competition. This win led to more singing opportunities such as performing on radio KCOR, and at the Teatro Zaragoza. She has toured the United States and Mexico, performing with groups like Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, Mariachi de Ramón Palomar, and Los Reyes de Jalisco; with singing stars like Amalia Mendoza, Charro Avita, Vicente Fernández, José Alfredo Jiménez and Juan Mendoza.