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LITTLE JOE Y LA FAMILIA is one of the most popular Tex-Mex bands in the music industry. Little Joe has celebrated over 60 years in entertainment and has been described as the "King of the Brown Sound." He helped to pioneer "Tejano" music, a mix of traditional "norteno" music and country, blues and rock styles.

Jose Maria DeLeon Hernandez “Little Joe” was born to Salvador “La Cotorra” Hernandez and Amelia DeLeon Hernandez in a one room dirt floor shack in Temple, Texas on October 17, 1940. He was the seventh child of thirteen. In 1953, while working as a young migrant worker in the cotton fields of Texas, Joeʼs cousin, David Coronado, the front man for the band “David Coronado & The Latinaires”, recruited Joe on guitar, Cino Moreno on drums and Tony Matamoros on saxophone. It wouldnʼt be till 1955 that Joe finally played his first “paying” performance in Cameron, Texas for $5.00 at a high school Sock Hop. He was so excited, he realized that picking guitar beat picking cotton and he could actually get paid for it.

In 1970, after playing and spending much of his time in San Francisco and the Bay Area, Joe discovered “Latinismo”, a strong Latin musical world which was not found in Texas at that time. It had a profound change in his music and cultural values prompting him to change the name of the band from Latinaires to La Familia emphasizing Joeʼs need for knowledge of his heritage and roots.

 

In 1983, Joe signed his first major label deal with WEA International. After a short stay with WEA, Joe again went independent and formed “Redneck Records” where he recorded the Live Double Album “25th Silver Anniversary” in 1985, later placed with CBS Records, subsequently becoming Sony Discos International. While with Sony Discos, he earned his first two Grammy nominations.

A publishing opportunity came to Joe in 1996 in which he would merge his company “DeLeon Publishing” with “Peer Music Limited Publishing” in an effort to bring a major publishing outlet for Texas Songwriters extending publishing works to 33 countries.

 

Over sixty years and many albums later, Joe still continues touring the world, trailblazing, looking forward to new challenges, breaking down cultural and musical barriers and innovating his musical style. As always, Joe strives to bring people together to make a more peaceful and harmonious world.

MUSIC

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The San Antonio Symphony revved up this extra-long 2014 Fiesta season Friday night with perhaps its best Fiesta Pops concert yet. This year's concert was groundbreaking on a couple of fronts. The big attraction was the coupling of the orchestra with Little Joe y La Familia.

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Anyone who has ever been to a Little Joe y La Familia show knows it’s not about whether an audiences speaks Spanish or not, it’s all about hanging onto your hat because it’s going to be a roller coaster ride of music, laughs and a whole lot of fun.

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It’s not every day that you can check out a musical living legend for free, but tonight Little Joe y La Familia will headline the Pan Americana Festival at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (600 River St.).

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la familia enterprises

2903 s general bruce dr

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Joeʼs recording debut as a guitarist for Terrero Records in Corpus Christi, Texas came in 1958 on an instrumental 

“Safari Part I & II” which was composed by all members of the Latinaires. Jesse Hernandez, Joeʼs younger brother who was a bassist, singer and songwriter, joined the band in 1959 as David Coronado was leaving and giving Joe the opportunity to take over the band, renaming it “Little Joe & The Latinaires”. Sadly in 1964 Jesse was killed in an automobile accident. Joe made a vow at Jesseʼs graveside to carry their music to the top; not realizing how high his music would take him, how it would open many doors for other artists, and how it would set many new musical trends.

In the later years of the 60ʼs Joe continued to move forward in his musical quest. He signed with Texas based independent record companies. His first record deal was with Corona Records in San Antonio, followed by Valmon Records in Austin and later Zarape Records in Dallas. Joe decided to venture into his own independent company in 1968, “Buena Suerte Records” for his Spanish recordings and “Good Luck Records” for his English recordings. Also owned by Joe, Leona Records, a record label with distribution by Freddy Records in Corpus Christi, allowing Joe to stay independent through-out the 70ʼs and early 80ʼs.

musical awards

Little Joe is a 11 time Grammy Nominated artist and 5 time Grammy Recipient:

Awarded Four (4) Grammyʼs: 1991 for Best Mexican-American album, "Diez y Seis de Septiembre", 2005 for Best Tejano album, “Chicanisimo”, 2007 for Best Tejano album, “Before The Next Teardrop Falls”. He won his fourth Grammy in the Best Tejano album category for the album entitled “Recuerdos” in 2010.

 

Awarded One (1) Latin Grammy in 2011 for the album entitled “Recuerdos”.

 

Also Grammy-Nominated Albums: 1988 - "Timeless”, 1993 - “Que Paso", 1999 - “Little Joe & La Familia 2000”, 2003 - “Celebration of Life, Volume I”, Latin Grammy-Nominated: 2004 - “Celebration of Life, Volume II”, Latin Grammy-Nominated: 2005 - Chicanisimo In 1996, Joe would appear on the 1997 Grammy nominated album, “Frank Yanchovich & Friends, Songs of the Polka King, Vol. 1” in which he performed a duet with Frank Yanchovich on the song “Just Because/Si Porque”.

 

Received the Buddy Holly Award for 7 straight years. May 1987. Received a special recognition, "Bravo Award", along with Julio Iglesias and the Miami Sound Machine at the Latin Music Awards in Miami, FL.

special recognitions

  • May 19, 2016: Joe was given the Humanitarian Award for his dedication to Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers

  • August 19, 2016: San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists Awards Gala. Joe received the 2016 Community Service Award - Corazon de Oro

  • Awarded the Palm Springs Walk of Fame Star on March 29, 2012 in Palm Springs, Ca. Little Joe is the first Hispanic to be given this honor.

  • Inducted into the First Annual Premios A La Musica Latina Hall of Fame in San Antonio, TX. On March 27, 2006.

  • May 28, 1998, chosen to participate in a tribute in Downtown L.A.ʼs historic Union Station honoring Robert Kennedy and Cesar Chavez 30 years after one of the great milestones in modern American politics-the 1968 California Democratic presidential primary. Participants were selected from among those who stood with Robert and Cesar during those hopeful-and ultimately tragic days-as well as those who were later inspired by them.

  • 2nd recipient of the NARAS Texas branch “Governors Award” in 1997 for his contributions to the legacy of Texas Music. The award is the highest honor that can be given by a NARAS Branch.

  • February 25, 1989, received the keys to the City of Houston and a proclamation proclaiming Little Joe Day in conjunction with his performance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; the only artist to receive this honor during the 18-day run of the Rodeo.

  • September 1990, attended the White House on two occasions to witness Former President Bush's signing of education bills.

  • Little Joe has received certificates of appreciation and exceptional services from the National Museum of American History, the Department of Defense, the Department of Education and the Department of the Interior.

  • Received special recognition from Congressman Kika de la Garza, chairman of the United States Hispanic Congressional Caucus. Proclaimed Commander of the 89th Military Air Lift Wing and recognized for his outstanding contributions to the 89th, as well as the United States Air Force.

  • Appointed Grand Marshall, received keys and proclamations, as well as being cited by several Governors in major cities across the nation. Selected as "1990 Humanitarian of the Year" by the Kiwanis Club.

community service & activism

  • 2017 Joe participated in the Willie Nelson “Texas Strong Hurricane Harvey Relief Concert” performing live at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin to help raise disaster relief funds for hurricane victims.

  • First Annual Little Joeʼs Walk-A-Thon in efforts to raise awareness and educate the general public about diabetes in 2015. In, 2009-Started the Little Joe Diabetes & Obesity Prevention Campaign.

  • Little Joe has participated in several school orientated projects such as; Teach the Children which is dedicated to providing school supplies to needy children across the State of Texas; Burger King Academy, a school dropout prevention program; Communities in School Program, a national dropout prevention program; Project SER which combats illiteracy; The National Hispanic Scholarship Fund, a program providing national scholarships to needy Hispanic students; he was selected as an Outstanding Role Model in the City of Houston in a Stay in School Project and was invited to address high school students from the Houston area at the Hispanic Scientists and Engineers Convention.

  • March 1992. Participated in the "Migrant Education Conference" in Anaheim, CA., an organization of professional school administrators and teachers devoted to educating migrant children.

  • Worked with the Southwest Voter Registration to assist in a voter registration drive. Was selected and participated in the "Fast For Life" for Cesar Chavez. Featured artist at a benefit concert to assist Farmworkers in the central agricultural region of California.

  • Participated in the "Toys for Tots" for several years.

  • Little Joe is a spokesman for Scott & White Hospital for the Children's Miracle Network, Blood Drive, Organ Donor Program and nationally for the American Heart Association.

  • In the last decade Little Joe & La Familia has been invited by the Smithsonian Institute on several occasions to perform on the grounds of the National Museum of American History during National Hispanic Heritage Week. In addition to Little Joe's performances, he was asked to conduct a workshop on Tex-Mex Music for students from all over the world. The workshop was videotaped and now is part of the Smithsonian Educational Catalog. For all of his hard work and commitment to the Smithsonian Institute, they awarded him a special lifetime achievement award

live performances

  • In 1989, Little Joe performed at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for a modern record crowd of 38,626 paid patrons for a Saturday matinee at the Houston Astro Dome. He performed in 1991, setting a new record Sunday afternoon crowd of 46,638 paid patrons. In March 2003, Little Joe performed again at the Rodeo and set an all- time record of attendance of 70,401 paid patrons at Reliant Stadium.

  • 1990- Little Joe first performed at Fiesta Broadway in Los Angeles, CA. to a record crowd of 400,000. In a return performance in 1991, he set a new crowd record of 500,000.

  • In 1991, Little Joe performed at the Mariachi U.S.A. Festival at the Hollywood Bowl with the Mariachi Vargas and Sol de Mexico. That same year he performed with Willie Nelson at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.

  • In March of 1992, Little Joe performed Live at Farm Aid. Farm Aid is an organization that works to increase awareness and importance of family farms. The concert is held annually with a variety of different musical acts.

  • Performed for National Conventions, such as LULAC, GI Forum, Project SER, Hispanic Scientists & Engineers Convention and the National Hispanic Congressional Caucus Dinner in Washington, D.C. Little Joe has had the honor of being a feature artist at Governor Ann Richards Inaugural Ball as well as performing at the Hispanic Inaugural Gala in Washington D.C. during the Inaugural Festivities for President Bill Clinton.

  • In the mid 90ʼs, Little Joe has been on 3 performance tours to Japan. Recently, Little Joe has performed in such places as Las Vegas, NV., Honolulu, HI. and House of Blues in Los Angeles, CA.. He has also taken 3 international tours to Souda Bay, Greece, Madrid and Rota, Spain and the Italian cities of Napals, La Madelena, Sigonella, Sicily and Rome.

  • In 1997, Little Joe and La Familia performed for a national television broadcast For the Hispanic Heritage Week at the Kennedy Center.

  • Throughout Little Joeʼs career, he has been invited to perform the National Anthem for Secretary of Defense Carlucci at the Pentagon and for Andrews Air Force Base during the Diez y Seis de Septiembre Hispanic Celebration.

  • He also performed the National Anthem across the country at special events such as:

    • BOXING: World Boxing Association Matches

    • FOOTBALL: World Football League at Alamo Stadium, San Antonio Riders vs. Frankfurt Germany BASEBALL: Major League Baseball at the Houston Astrodome, L.A. Dodgers vs. Houston Astros BASKETBALL: NBA Basketball at The Summit in Houston, Texas, San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets

National anthem

major fairs & festials

Fiesta Del Sol - Chicago, IL.

Fiesta De Las Flores - El Paso, TX.

Pinata Fest - Albuquerque, NM

Enchilada Fest - Las Cruces, NM.

Santa Barbara Co. Fair - Santa Barbara, CA.

Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic - Luchenbach, TX.

Willie Nelson Farm Aid Concerts - Various Locations

Acapulco Festival - Acapulco, Mexico (televised by Siempre en Domingo worldwide)

Santa Clara Co. Fair - Santa Clara, CA.

Detroit Fair - Detroit, MI.

Colorado State Fair - Pueblo, CO.

Fresno Fair - Fresno, CA.

Arizona State Fair - Phoenix, AZ.

Pima County Fair - Tucson, AZ.

Cochise Co. Fair - Douglas, AZ.

Balloon Festival - Ruidoso, NM.

Cinco De Mayo Festival - Topeka, KS.

casinos

  • Acoma, NM- Sky City Casino

  • Albuquerque, NM Route 66

  • Albuquerque,NM Isleta Casino

  • Albuquerque,NM Sandia Casino

  • Alpine, CA Viejas Casino

  • Anthony, NM Sunland Park Casino

  • Bernalio, NM San Felipe's Hollywood

  • Brooks, CA Cashe Creek

  • Cabazon, CA Morongo Casino

  • Camp Verde, AZ Casino

  • Casa Blanca, NM Dancing Eagle Casino

  • Chandler, AZ Gila River Casino

  • Dulce, NM Apache Nugget Casino

  • Eagle Pass, TX Lucky Eagle Casino

  • El Cajon, CA Sycuan Casino

  • El Paso, TX Speaking Rock Casino

  • Espanola, NM Ohkay Casino

  • Parker, AZ Blue Water Casino

  • ​Phoenix, AZ Gila River Casino

  • Phoenix, AZ Harrah's

  • Porterville, CA Eagle Mountain Casino Sacramento, CA Cashe Creek

  • San Bernadino,CA San Manuel

  • San Carlos, AZ Apache Gold

  • Santa Fe, NM Camel Rock

  • Santa Ynez, CA Chumash

  • Taos, NM Taos Mountain Casino

  • Tama, IA Meskwaki

  • Temecula, CA Pechanga Casino

  • Thackerville, OK Windstar Casino

  • Tucson, AZ Desert Diamond

  • Tucson, AZ Casino Del Sol

  • Yuma, AZ Paradise Casino

  • Yuma, AZ Coco Pah Casino

  • Fresno, CA Mt. Table Casino

  • Hemet, CA Soboba Casino

  • Indio, CA Fantasy Spring

  • Kansas City, KS Flamingo Casino

  • Kansas City, MO Stations Casino

  • Las Vegas, NV Orleans

  • Las Vegas, NV Rio Casino

  • Las Vegas, NV Gold Coast

  • Las Vegas, NV Paris

  • Laughlin, NV Flamingo

  • Laughlin, NV Riverside Casino

  • Laughlin, NV AVI Resort and Casino

  • Laughlin, NV Aquaris Casino

  • Laughlin, NV Harrah's Casino & Hotel

  • Lemoore, CA Tachi Casino

  • Lemoore, CA Palace Indian

  • Mescalara, NM Inn of the Mountain Gods

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