A group of Rio Grande Valley Tejana artists is aiming to spread unity and love through their new single to be released this fall.
Genyva Salas Monjaras, a Tejana artist from Elsa, said the idea to get a woman’s group together came to her in a vision last year when she was battling depression.
As she sat in her backyard Monjaras said her phone began to play the song, “Way Maker,” a Christian worship song.
Monjaras said in that moment she had a vision of many Tejana artists singing this song and took it as a sign from God that it was her duty to bring together the already-established artists in the Tejano music industry, and upcoming artists, to sing a Spanish version of the song, “Aqui Estas.”
The artist said she has to be obedient to her heart and follow where it guides her. Especially with so many people lost due to the pandemic, she wants to spread love and hope to the world
“I said, ‘OK God, if this is what you want me to do I’ll do it,’” Monjaras said.
She recently released her ballad, “Como Te Atreves,” and is planning a Christian album where the lead single will be this combination of female voices from Tejano music.
She was able to get 25 Tejana artists together, including herself.
Members of the group include Shelly Lares, Patsy Torres, Margarita Canela, Di Marie, Demmi Garcia, Cortney, Marisela Hernandez, Crystal Torres, Anjelique, Rebecca Valadez and Machy De La Garza.
Other members include Cristina Salinas, Magali De La Rosa, Krystalina Vallejo, Vee Gonzalez, Alyssa Torres, Monica Saldivar, Savannah Votion, Perla Quintanilla, Sarah Monique and Anikka Garza, as well as Stephanie Bergara, Aisha Aparicio and Christine Philip.
However, with the pandemic it was difficult to get all the women to coordinate their schedules.
Monjaras said after a while the plans dissolved until one night she had a dream of her late mother, who gave her the name, “Tejanas Unidas En Cristo.”
The next morning she messaged all the women once again and asked if they would like to be part of the project. They all agreed.
On May 8, the women recorded their song, “Aqui Estas” at Freddy Records in Corpus. The song is set to be released this August along with a music video, which the women will record July 25.
This single will be mixed in Coahuila Saltillo Mexico.
Monjaras’ testimony was the sign that the women needed to come together for this project. Many of the women on the single said they had always felt a calling to sing for their faith and jumped at the opportunity when contacted by Monjaras.
Canela, a Tejana artist from Weslaco and niece of San Benito legend Freddy Fender, said she is proud to finally use her platform to spread love and positivity through Christian music.
“There’s a lot of lost souls out there and this is our way of using the gift that God gave us to uplift other people,” Canela said.
State Rep. Armando Martinez recognized Tejanas Unidas En Cristo on May 24 during the 87th Texas Legislature with a proclamation.
“Music can provide great healing and comfort in difficult times, and the members of Tejanas Unidas En Cristo have demonstrated a strong commitment to lifting the spirits of people across the Lone Star State,” the proclamation read.
Salinas, a Tejana Valley native who toured for many years with Jimmy Gonzales, said her favorite part of the project has been getting to know the other women in the Tejano music industry.
She said prior to this experience she only knew of the artists but never had the opportunity to collaborate or personally get to know the other women in the industry.
Salinas was pleased to learn that so many of her colleagues in Tejano music live in the Valley.
“Women in the industry have never united like this,” Monjaras said.
She believes that it is important for the women of Tejano to unite and empower each other in what has long been a male dominated profession.
With no one to help ease her into the industry, Monjaras aims to change this and create a sisterhood to mentor the next generation of female artists.
Lares, a veteran in Tejano music said the only way the female presence can grow is if this happens.
She said she is excited to sing with her mentor Patsy Torres on this song.
As an established artist, Lares said she enjoys collaborating with new singers, but has never been a part of something this big.
The Tejana veteran recently worked with Saldivar and Garcia for her song “Nada De Ti.”
Lares released her latest album LMD (Little Miss Dynamite) 82, which she will be touring in support of until the end of 2022 before hanging up her microphone to pursue a bachelors of science in nursing.
Her goal is to become a hospice nurse to give back to her community.
Like Lares, many of the women have a testimony and struggles beyond their musical careers.
People will get to know these artists more personally in a documentary where the women open up about how they overcame their struggles with rape, abusive relationships, and loss.
Mingo Mariano, a podcast host and entertainment correspondent, asked the women questions for the documentary.
Monjaras said a partnership with Netflix or another streaming service is in the works for this documentary.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct Salinas’ name.