On March 31, 1995, the news of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez’s tragic death spread throughout the Lone Star State and world. The Corpus Christi singer rose to stardom after winning the 1987 Tejano Music Award for Female Entertainer of the Year while singing in the Quintanilla family band, Selena y los Dinos. The young artist, famously known as the “Queen of Tejano music,” went on to become the first Tejano artist to win a Grammy award in 1994.
A quarter century later, the Mexican-American artist’s music still lingers in the hearts of fans everywhere. Her songs, such as “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” have inspired musicians to pay homage to the late singer’s legacy. Musicians, like the talented group of individuals that make up Bidi Bidi Banda, do just that.
Bidi Bidi Banda formed in 2014. The all-star tribute band is composed of six band members who recreate Selena’s songs, with Stephanie Bergara on vocals, Rocky Reyna on bass, Frank Ramirez on drums, Luis Sanchez on keys, Joshua Thomson on saxophone, and Coby Ramirez on percussion. Together, they recreate the magic the Grammy award-winning artist recorded and performed live for audiences across Texas.
“I was working on a Latin music festival and had the idea to do a Selena [Quintanilla-Pérez] tribute for the kickoff party,” lead singer Stephanie Bergara said.
After performing in other musical groups that did not gain traction, she said she had the idea to recreate the Queen of Tejano music’s songs. “I knew how much I loved singing along to [Selena Quintanilla-Pérez’s] music, and I hoped that we could garner an audience base of Selena fans who wanted to hear her music live,” she said.
Bidi Bidi Banda played their first performance for a sold out audience at the Empire Control Room in Austin. The show transported fans back 25 years ago with six of Selena’s greatest hits. “The rest is history,” she said.
Since then, the all-star tribute band has played together paying tribute to the Texan singer for numerous performances. Some of their most rewarding moments include being the first Latina-fronted band to play at Austin City Limits Radio’s famous Blues on the Green concert series and singing at the State Fair of Texas, 24 years after Selena did herself, Bergara said. Prior to their performances, it is all about preparation.
“I always watch Selena with Jennifer Lopez before we go on a tour,” she said.
That road, both metaphorically and on tour, has created a family-like atmosphere for the musicians. “The band very much has a family dynamic,” she said. “Many of the members have been in the Banda for four years or longer.” These members, who previously made music in various other Latin bands, are made up of both full-time musicians and individuals who work in other professions.
As for the future of Bidi Bidi Banda, the musical tribute group keeps the memory of Selena alive while honoring the artist’s music through their performances. “We are hopeful to be able to bring our live show to audiences again very soon,” she said.