Archive for the 'Selena' Category
March 25th, 2010, 12:31 pm by Veronica
It’s been 15 years since she passed and many will continue to remember the Queen of Tejano music Selena Quintanilla Perez. On March 31, 1995 she was shot and killed by her fan club president Yolanda Saldivar.
That day remains fresh in my mind and I’m sure it does in many of yours. What is your favorite song? What do you remember, like about Selena? Leave your comments.
March 25th, 2010, 11:24 am by Veronica
Fifteen years after her passing, Selena lives on through her music and the stories behind it.
And most fans have specific reasons for loving her lyrics, some of which are as emotionally complex as the actual music. Now on the 15th anniversary of her death, several of Selena’s friends, fans and collaborators share these stories.
Guzman’s career in tejano music spans five decades. The South Texas native remembers when the genre’s popularity exploded in the Valley. And he also remembers when a young woman named Selena turned from little girl to superstar in a matter of years. Guzman, who has long known Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, stays in touch with the family. He visited Abraham weeks after Selena’s death, and he says the family showed him the first plans for the movie, which were scribbled on yellow paper. He feels honored to have shared in that, and he will never forget it. “Amor Prohibido” is his favorite Selena song. Years ago, Guzman had an office in McAllen, and Selena’s father and brother A.B. Quintanilla visited him there. He says they once brought old letters written years ago by a great grandmother or other distant female relative. Guzman says he is unsure of the exact relationship to the writer. The letters described her life, working as a servant for a wealthy family. She also seemed to be in love with a member of that family, Guzman says. Because of class issues, however, she couldn’t be with him. She described her crush as a “forbidden love.” These letters would later inspire Selena’s song “Amor Prohibido.”"They later turned it into a song which became a huge hit,” Guzman says. “I remember that one, maybe because it stayed in my mind, it become one of my favorites.”
JAMES ECHAVARRIA, also known as ROCK N’ ROLL JAMES
Rock N’ Roll James, a staple of tejano radio in the Rio Grande Valley for more than two decades, first saw Selena perform at Studio 4, a now-defunct Harlingen nightclub. He worked as a DJ there in the ‘80s, and Selena performed for a video segment on the Johnny Canales Show. Years later, he would forge a personal relationship with Selena and her family. In 1988, James started as the morning DJ on the Valley’s Que Pasa 99.5 radio station. In the early ‘90s, he hosted Puro Tejano, a television show about the musicians whose music he played. He remembers one video segment vividly. His favorite Selena song is “No Me Queda Mas,” and his television show did a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video. He traveled to San Antonio, where Selena taped the video at a train station near the Alamo Dome. She descended a grand old staircase wearing a beautiful white dress with her hair up. “I got to be there that night,” Echavarria says. “Her personality just made you fall in love with her. That’s what made her beautiful — the way she was with people. She was humble, in a way.” That was the first of several life-long memories he has of Selena. Echavarria later became good friends with Selena’s brother A.B. Quintanilla. Once he was hanging out in her recording studio in Corpus Christi when A.B. asked if he’d like to help out with the album. Selena needed a couple guys to do a rap for one of her tracks. “It was an honor,” he says. “I was just standing around and A.B. really came up with the idea. I said ‘I don’t care if my name is on there or not, just being a part of this is bada**.’ Then the CD comes out and there’s my name on there. I’ll never forget it.”
NANO RAMIREZNano Ramirez and his family have a long history with tejano music in Texas. For 40 years his family ran a record label. These days, Ramirez works as one of the Valley’s busiest music promoters. Ramirez also owned La Villa Real, a now-closed concert venue, which hosted mega stars from tejano legends to Snoop Dogg. The venue also featured Selena concerts every three or four months during the peak of her fame. He remembers Selena’s popularity seemed to grow rapidly. He first booked Selena in the Valley on an Easter Sunday, and he was disappointed when she drew a crowd of only 800 people. Those 800, however, spoke highly of the show and spread the word. When he booked her again a few months later, the show sold out, and about 2,500 people packed the venue. In 1995, the Tejano Music Awards asked Ramirez and Carlos Guzman to present the honor for entertainer of the year. Selena won the award, a few months before her death. Ramirez says his favorite Selena song is “Como La Flor,” because that is the one he most closely associates with her. He remembers the crowd reaction when she would play the song. People would dance and sing along. “Some superstars have that special mystique that you’re born with,” Ramirez says. “Selena is one of those people that has that magical touch. Juan Gabriel, Elton John, The Beatles, Michael Jackson — those bands that stand out, they have something to them. Something that attracts the populus. Selena was one of them. Her smile. Her charisma. She was a happy go lucky girl and she loved performing. “In person, she was probably one of the most beautiful female entertainers.”
GILBERT THOMAS COLUNGA
Colunga pulled his car over when he heard a radio station report Selena’s death on March 31, 1995. He was driving from his home in Harlingen to the University of Texas-Pan American, where he was a student. Selena had died from a gunshot wound. He was stunned. About six weeks earlier, Colunga had watched her perform at La Villa Real, and the concert was a dream come true for him. He had watched Selena’s live show several times in his life, often feeling envious of the fans she picked out of the crowd to join her on stage. At her final Valley performance, she pulled Colunga on stage to dance and sing during “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.” Colunga says 15 years later, the song holds a special meaning for him. When he hears it, he remembers dancing on stage and giving Selena a hug and kiss when the song ended. He even wrote a letter to the University of Texas-Pan American’s student newspaper after her death, detailing his experience at the concert. They printed it, and Colunga still has a copy. “I probably walked around with that newspaper in my backpack at Pan Am for a year after that,” he says. “Everybody has their own little memories, and for me, that was my memory of her.”
Bocanegra has worked in Valley schools for 25 years, and he plans to retire this year.He remembers Selena’s death as one of the most devastating blows for Valley music fans. “She was just finding her niche, and then she was taken away unfortunately,” he says. “It was a cruel twist of fate that befell not only her but the entire tejano industry. She would have been a great ambassador for the tejano industry and the Hispanic community.” Bocanegra’s favorite Selena song is “No Me Queda Mas.” He says the tune showcases her versatility and growth as an artist – growth that was stunted by her untimely passing. “She had grown from being a little girl to a true singer and entertainer,” he says. “She was on the verge of breaking into the national scene.”
Ilyssa Saenz has wanted to be like Selena since she was 3 years old. Earlier this year, she got her wish. Television network Univision challenged viewers to do their best Selena impression. They held a contest, and invited young women to send videotapes of themselves dressed as Selena as they sang her music. Saenz, a 19-year-old Hebbronville native who currently attends the University of Texas-Pan American, jumped at the chance. She sent a videotape of herself singing “No Me Queda Mas,” which is her favorite Selena song. Saenz loves the passion and the feeling in the song, and the contest judges thought she captured it well. They selected her to participate in the finals in Miami.At a televised competition, Saenz bested four other girls to win the $10,000 prize and the honor of being the best Selena impersonator. The victory has brought her more opportunities as well.Organizers for the Tejano Fan Fair in San Antonio invited her to perform at the event during the weekend of March 19. But Saenz says the memories from the contest were the greatest prize – especially for a life-long Selena fan such as herself.”You could tell everybody did it out of the love they had for Selena,” she says. “Nobody was ever in a bad mood. There was a certain type of energy that made it that much more amazing.”