Known as a lone artist and performer, Lydia Mendoza's voice and twelve-string guitar-playing figure prominently in her ability to both nurture and transmit the vast oral tradition of popular Mexican song with beauty and integrity. She sang the songs of the people across generations in the old tradition; all are indigenous to the Americas, and many of them to Texas. It is the music that emerged from the experiences of native peoples (on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border) within the colonial context of the nineteenth century.
Mendoza's prominence and stature as a Chicana idol stems from her sustained presence and perpetual visibility within a complex network of social and cultural relations in the twentieth century. Along with being one of the earliest female recording and touring artists, she is loved as a voice of working-class sentimiento, sentiment and sentience, through song, which is one of the most cherished of Chicana/o cultural art forms. Through her vast repertoire and unmistakable interpretive skill in the shaping of songs she is a living embodiment of U.S.-Mexican culture and a participant in raza people's protracted struggles for survival.