Timeline

Latino Music in Omaha, 1920 - Present  


Barrientos Brothers arrive in 1926

 

Juan, Vidal and Pánfilo come from a long line of family musicians that date back to the late 1800s. 

 Juan, Vidal, Pánfilo Barrientos Hernández arrive with mother Alejandra Hernández from Aguascalientes, México. They originated from Haciendo de Los Campos, Zacatecas, México.

 Juan, Vidal, Pánfilo Barrientos Hernández arrive with mother Alejandra Hernández from Aguascalientes, México. They originated from Haciendo de Los Campos, Zacatecas, México.


1930

Cultural and musical traditions were kept alive during the 1930s by a small population of native Mexican immigrants to South Omaha.  Life revolved around hard work in the packing plants, building families and re-enacting holiday celebrations; such as Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo.  Festivities began in home gatherings and moved to neighborhood fiestas and street fairs.  Everyone participated in these events featuring traditional hand-made costumes, regional dances and musical ballads.

1930s Panfilo Barrientos, Eduarda Rodriguez on South 24th Street at Mexican celebration

1930s Panfilo Barrientos, Eduarda Rodriguez on South 24th Street at Mexican celebration


1940

Mexican immigration to South Omaha continued at a steady pace during the 1940s as relatives came to experience the thriving meat packing and service industries.  Families grew as a second and third generation American baby boom arrived.  The Hollywood musical influence captivated traditional Mexican music forms, creating bands of musicians and singers.  Cuban and South American compositions became popular; however, the traditional Mexican folk sound emanating from elaborately costumed “charros” could be heard in most main stream events.  Some ambitious and gifted performers began to use music as a livelihood.

Musicians during this time period: Juan, Vidal & Epifano Barrientos, Arturo & Jay Huerta, Leo Deloa, Trini Huerta Barrientos, Leo Barajas, Frank ‘Chico’ Gómez. 

Places played at: house gatherings, halls and special events.

1940s Musicians: (top) Leo Deloa, Arturo Huerta, Juan Barrientos, Martin Deloa, Vidal Barrientos

1940s Musicians: (top) Leo Deloa, Arturo Huerta, Juan Barrientos, Martin Deloa, Vidal Barrientos

 

 

1946 Trini Huerta Barrientos, Leo Barrajas, Arturo & Jay Huerta

1946 Trini Huerta Barrientos, Leo Barrajas, Arturo & Jay Huerta


1950 

The Mexican community was now firmly established in South Omaha. With the popularity of the ‘I Love Lucy’ show which featured a Cuban musician and singer, Desi Arnaz,  Mexican restaurants, clubs and social establishments added to neighborhood economic development.  A new generation of young people from the founding families continued the musical traditions of their fathers.  Now there were diverse and emerging venues for these experiences, away from home and into public spaces. The popularity of ethnic festivals and celebrations provided outlets for the music, song and dance expressions of Mexican performers.  The development of social societies centered on community activities and provided employment, as well as entertainment.

Musicians during this time period were Juan, Vidal & Pánfilo Barrientos, Arturo & Jay Huerta, Trini Huerta Barrientos, Leo Barajas, Gilbert Buso, Frank ‘Chico’ Gómez, Louie Magallanes, Ernie Martínez, Francis García Reyes and Ruth Francis ‘Betty’ Martin. 

Musicians performed at Tampico (1955-1965), George’s (also known as Carmona’s), German American Hall, Jalisco, Stockyard’s Exchange Building, Our Lady of Guadalupe, house gatherings, halls, special events and programs.

The Cisco Kid was a nationally syndicated, family-friendly TV western that aired from 1950 to 1956 and made television history as the first TV series to be shot in color. Its primary characters were Mexican caballeros named Cisco Kid and Pancho (and their equine pals Diablo and Loco). Ironically, the show’s producer Philip N. Krasne was from Norfolk, Nebraska.  The Cisco Kid was shown on WOWT, which signed on the air in 1949 as Omaha’s first TV station. During the early 1950s, TV stations had limited access to nationally produced material and filled their schedules with local programming. The band in the photo was likely either performing on a music variety show common to the era (and advertising The Cisco Kid because of the Mexican connection) or was possibly in the studio to do a live advertisement during a Cisco Kid commercial break, since recorded commercials didn’t come around until 1956. 

The Cisco Kid was a nationally syndicated, family-friendly TV western that aired from 1950 to 1956 and made television history as the first TV series to be shot in color. Its primary characters were Mexican caballeros named Cisco Kid and Pancho (and their equine pals Diablo and Loco). Ironically, the show’s producer Philip N. Krasne was from Norfolk, Nebraska. 

The Cisco Kid was shown on WOWT, which signed on the air in 1949 as Omaha’s first TV station. During the early 1950s, TV stations had limited access to nationally produced material and filled their schedules with local programming. The band in the photo was likely either performing on a music variety show common to the era (and advertising The Cisco Kid because of the Mexican connection) or was possibly in the studio to do a live advertisement during a Cisco Kid commercial break, since recorded commercials didn’t come around until 1956. 

KBON was the original 1490AM, signing on in 1941 and joining national network Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS) in 1946. KBON hung around in some form or another until the 1970s, and briefly also broadcast in FM (1948-1952), an endeavor that failed commercially but left behind towers that are still intact more than 65 years later. In its heyday, MBS distributed programs originating in their founding studios in New York, Chicago, Cincinnati and Detroit, but their affiliates also broadcast programs created locally. KBON was known for news and music in the 1950s and working with college-level student programs. The photo is probably from one of KBON’s live local music broadcasts. MBS was sold many times and eventually faded away. 1490AM transferred from KBON to KLNG, then KYNN, then KOSR, and finally KOMJ.

KBON was the original 1490AM, signing on in 1941 and joining national network Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS) in 1946. KBON hung around in some form or another until the 1970s, and briefly also broadcast in FM (1948-1952), an endeavor that failed commercially but left behind towers that are still intact more than 65 years later.

In its heyday, MBS distributed programs originating in their founding studios in New York, Chicago, Cincinnati and Detroit, but their affiliates also broadcast programs created locally. KBON was known for news and music in the 1950s and working with college-level student programs. The photo is probably from one of KBON’s live local music broadcasts.

MBS was sold many times and eventually faded away. 1490AM transferred from KBON to KLNG, then KYNN, then KOSR, and finally KOMJ.

1955 Ruth 'Betty' Martin Hilario singing with Lawrence Welk

1955 Ruth 'Betty' Martin Hilario singing with Lawrence Welk

1952. Tampico Trio. Gilbert Buso, Juan Barrientos, and Vidal Barrientos.

1952. Tampico Trio. Gilbert Buso, Juan Barrientos, and Vidal Barrientos.

1950s Arturo Huerta, Frank 'chico' Gomez, Rita Barrientos, Joey Barrientos (kid on knee), Tony Martinez

1950s Arturo Huerta, Frank 'chico' Gomez, Rita Barrientos, Joey Barrientos (kid on knee), Tony Martinez

1955 George's: Helen & Gilbert Buso, Juan, Eduarda, Vidal  Barrientos

1955 George's: Helen & Gilbert Buso, Juan, Eduarda, Vidal  Barrientos

1950s Don Chico Gomez Quartet. Arturo Huerta, Don Frank 'Chico' Gomez, Louie Magallenes and Ruth Francis 'Betty' Martin Hilario

1950s Don Chico Gomez Quartet. Arturo Huerta, Don Frank 'Chico' Gomez, Louie Magallenes and Ruth Francis 'Betty' Martin Hilario

1955-1965 Tampico on 10 & Pacific. First Mexican-owned venue to offer live music.

1955-1965 Tampico on 10 & Pacific. First Mexican-owned venue to offer live music.


1960 

Musicians during this time period: Juan, Vidal & Epifano Barrientos, Arturo & Jay Huerta, Trini Huerta Barrientos, Gilbert Buso, David Castro, John Martinez, Frank ‘Chico’ Gómez, Joe Cabral

Places played at: Tampico (1955-1965), George’s (also known as ‘Carmona’s), German American Hall, Garcia’s , Tropicana, Shubert’s, Stockyard’s Exchange Building, Our Lady of Guadalupe, house gatherings, halls and special events.

1961 Mary Lou Barrientso, Mary Barrientos, Rosie Barrientos, Arturo Huerta

1961 Mary Lou Barrientso, Mary Barrientos, Rosie Barrientos, Arturo Huerta


1970 
Performance Venues: George's (VIP), Stockyard's Exchange Bldg, Tropicana, Shubert's, Garcia's

Musicians & Groups during this time period: Tequila Sunrise, Cervantes Brothers


1980 
Performance Venues: Howard's Charro Café, Wright Place

Musicians during this time period: Revelations, Don Juans, Echo 


1990 
Performance Venues: Double Tree Hotel, Howard's Charro Café, Colleges, Special & Private Events.

Estrellitas de Omaha 

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Mariachi Zapata

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Los Rayos

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Sabor

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2000 
Performed at: Guacamaya, Howard's Charro Café, Sokol Hall, Arthur's, Schools, Colleges, Festivals, Private Events.

Mariachi Luna y Sol

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Tamborazo de Zacatecas

Zahoma

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Los Galleros

Banda Santa Cruz

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Son del Llano

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Banda Brisa

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Chilanga Banda

Marcos & Sabor

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2010 

Performance Venues: Tquila, Bere's Hall, Millinium Hall, El Toro

Tropa Norteño

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Mariachi Juvenil

Rosendo Robles

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Mariachi Las Cecilias

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