The Leaders

By 1914, American record companies were discovering the fruits of Mexican immigration. Realizing they did not have to send expensive equipment into Mexico, companies were soon recording a whole host of regional singers and musicians right here in the United States. The labels discovered that Mexicans in the U.S. were willing to pay good money for the music they liked, and soon these records were reaching every layer of Mexican American society. Los Angeles hosted countless recording sessions and a thriving live music scene. This was all made possible by a cast of key promoters, store owners, radio DJs, and entrepreneurial label owners.

Mauricio Calderón

Mauricio Calderón opened Repertorio Musical Mexicano around 1915 and remained in business until the mid-1940s.

Pedro J. González

After serving with Pancho Villa in the Revolution (1910-1920), Pedro J. González joined the thousands of Mexicans immigrating to the U.S. in the early 1920s.

Manuel S. Acuña

Manuel S. Acuña was an orchestra leader, composer, record producer, and talent scout for Vocalion, Columbia, and Imperial, who eventually started and operated the Colonial label.

Through their writing, recording, promotional, and distribution work, these leaders helped create a rich musical ecosystem in Los Angeles. But it fell to the record labels to connect the artists with their listeners across the state. As it turned out, the 1940s were the beginning of the golden age of regional labels in California.