October 4, 2002

Austin City Limits presents unique stories of the Mexican-American cultural journey

AUSTIN, TEXAS — For the first time in Austin City Limits’ 28 year history, the legendary music program presents a theatrical production that uses music to present its stories. “By the Hand of the Father” features music by Texas singer-song-writer Alejandro Escovedo and stories culled from real people’s experiences to describe the unique 20th century journey of the Mexican-American father. The “By the Hand of the Father” with music by Alejandro Escovedo episode of Austin City Limits airs October 12, 2002 on PBS.

“This represents another milestone for Austin City Limits”, said producer Terry Lickona. “There’s no better way to express the changing culture of a people than through music and stories, and my hope is that this program helps to ignite the same interest in the legacy of early Mexican-American immigrants as the TV series ‘Roots’ did for generations of African-Americans.”

Escovedo worked with playwrights Theresa Chavez, Eric Gutierrez and Rose Portillo to create an original production about the lives of Mexican-American fathers who struggle to survive while still maintaining their cultural identity for themselves and their families. This performance also explores the universal themes of love, loss and child/parent relationships.

Alejandro Escovedo is joined by his brother —Latin jazz percussionist Pete Escovedo— for “Inside this Dance,” renowned singer/songwriter Rosie Flores for “Ballad of the Sun & the Moon;” and award-winning Tejano singer and member of Los Super Seven Ruben Ramos for “Mexico Americano.” Other songs in the production include “Wave,” “Hard Road,” “With These Hands,” “Rosalie” and “Silence.”

Rosie Flores.

The songs are weaved performances by actors Rosie Portillo and Kevin Sifuentes as they tell the stories of five different Mexican-American men who were born in the first decades of the 1900s. The men have lived through the Depression, wars and the fast-changing society to make a life for themselves and their families. Each story is told from the perspective of the men themselves or their children, wives or grandchildren.

“By the Hand of the Father,” which has been produced throughout the United States and Canada, was named a finalist for the Imagen Foundation Award, which rewards artists making contributions to the positive portrayal of Latinos in art and entertainment.

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