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Manuel Donley

Manuel Donley (1927–2020), “The Godfather of Tejano music”

by Kirk Fox

Manuel “Cowboy” Donley was a Tejano music legend called “The Godfather of Tejano Music.” 

  • Died: Sunday, June 28, 2020. (Who else died on June 28?) 
  • Details of Death: Died at the age of 92 from natural causes.  
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Tejano Legend     

Donley was born in Mexico and grew up in Austin, Texas. He started out playing for tips in Cantinas in Austin in the 1940s. His career took off with his band called The Estrellas in the 1950s. Donley was a pioneer of Tejano music, a Texas based genre that combines Mexican and American music with Big Band. He was inducted into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame and received the National Endowment for the Arts’ lifetime achievement award for folk and traditional arts. Most of his children are musical, playing in his band and he continued to perform with his daughter Sylvia at Austin clubs until recently. He told NBC News in 2014 how much he loved to play music and said, “I’m going to ask to be buried with my guitar.” 

What they said about him

Full Obituary: Austin Statesman


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