Since publishing her autobiography, Linda Ronstadt has spoken at several pricey Bay Area venues.
Professor of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Maria Luisa Alaniz wanted something different for SJSU.
This means organizers will request donations, not sell tickets, when the 11-time Grammy Award winner comes to Morris Dailey Auditorium 6 p.m. March 12.
This event is accessible to all community members,” Alaniz said. “No one will be turned away.”
Ronstadt will be in conversation with Alaniz and Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center Director Maribel Martinez, ’03 Political Science and Sociology, ’10 Applied Sociology.
Although the performer has lost her singing voice to Parkinson’s disease, music will remain a big part of the evening. Entertainers include Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol de SJSU. Ronstadt remains close to San Jose’s Mexican Heritage and Mariachi Festival.
Broadly speaking, her career cut across so many musical genres—rock, country, blues—that she defies description. She is perhaps best known for the ballad “Blue Bayou” and the upbeat anthem “Somewhere Out There.”
Ronstadt made it look easy. It was not. A fragile beauty in front of the cameras when she emerged on the scene in the 1960s, she fought to forge her own path.
She found a way to express her creativity and independence in the tough, competitive music industry,” Alaniz said.
Ronstadt eventually returned to Mexican American roots belied by a German last name. She wore a traditional, embroidered suit while receiving a Grammy for her nostalgic 1989 album, “Canciones de Mi Padre” (“Songs of My Father”).
Embracing culture and history
“It was just a beautiful thing to see her represent our music while also embracing our culture and our history,” Alaniz said.
It’s no coincidence the event’s principal organizers are women. Ronstadt may be older, but her journey resonates through the generations.
She was never afraid to lend her voice to social causes, and continues to do so today, making appearances even as her voice falters.
She has a lot to say to young women about resiliency,” Alaniz said. “She negotiated the music industry’s corporate world as a woman and for the most part a single woman. She really had to be courageous in creating her own eclectic career.”