A local band will show off their talent to a national audience this week. Their performance pays tribute to a Latin music icon.
KAWC's Stephanie Sanchez reports.
Selena Quintanilla-Perez was a Mexican-American singer who died more than 20 years ago.
She began her career as the lead singer of her family’s band, Selena y Los Dinos and quickly rose to fame to become one of the top Latin artists of the 90s.
She was known as the “Queen of Tejano Music” and still has a large following in the Latino community.
Including a group of musicians from San Luis, AZ
That’s Evelyn Molina, lead singer of “Los Chicos del 512” a Selena tribute band. The group released this recording of Selena’s hit “Como La Flor” on YouTube.
“Selena was a very unique artist. She was really the whole package," Molina said. "She was beautiful, she had the charisma, she had an amazing voice, amazing talent and she was an amazing dancer.”
Molina and fellow band mate, Alex Yanez are among 5 others band members who got together two years ago and have been making the rounds playing weddings, quinceñeras and birthday parties. More recently they’ve played larger venues and have traveled the U.S.
At one of their recent rehearsals in San Luis, Yanez, the band’s percussionist, said they want to do more than just pay tribute to Selena’s music.
"We all enjoy her music, we all enjoy playing her music," Yanez said. "So the main reason why we are also doing this Selena tribute band is to bring the experience to the people that did not meet her, since she left a young age.”
The 23-year old singer’s life was cut short on March 31st 1995. She was fatally shot by the former president of her fan club.
Molina, like her other band members, grew up listening to Selena and remembers hearing the news when she was young.
"I grew up with Selena. She died when I was about 8, that’s when I heard she passed," Molina said. "And a little bit after that, that’s when I started singing. Actually Alex and I were in a band together when we were kids.
"I remember the first song I ever sang with the band was 'Baila esta cumbia',” she said.
Molina said she studies Selena by watching music videos, interviews and YouTube tutorials on how to create Selena’s classic make up look: a winged eyeliner and bold red lip and replicate many of Selena’s iconic outfits.
“To me they are Selena fans and I get to borrow them," she said. "It’s an amazing thing and I just want to thank them.”
She’ll borrow even more fans as the band has been invited to perform a set at an NBA game in Chicago this week.
Molina said it is the first time they’ll perform in front of a national audience and she hopes their six minute halftime performance will get people out of their seats.
"The medley will consist of La Carcacha, Bidi Bidi Bom Bom, and Techno Cumbia," she said. "We want people to dance first of all and we want people to enjoy themselves."
"I know Selena has a lot of other hits but I feel like these are the ones that people can really feel they can dance to them.”
And they are a little nervous.
"We are really honored and we’re really excited to able to take Selena’s music this far…I am a bit nervous, it’s more of an adrenaline rush," Molina said.
The band will perform as part of the NBA’s Latin Nights program, which celebrates NBA players and fans of Latin American or Hispanic descent.
They’ll play at halftime during the game between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons Wednesday evening.