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Cecy Trevino works on her look before the show photos by Rebecca Massey BOOKS Er THE CULTURE The Conquest BY MELISSA SATTLEY Come on, girls. You’re late!” yells manager Abraham Quintanilla, attempting to move the five women of La Conquista, an upand-coming cumbia pop group, out of the tour bus and onto the stage at Austin’s Auditorium Shores. The young women plead for one more minute as they solidify their stage perso nas with hair spray and mascara. La Conquista is here to play at South of Mexico’s biggest rock acts, El Tri. The lineup is unorthodox, to say the least, featuring the twenty-something women of La Conquista, the vintage rockers of El Tri, and the stylish musicians of a Norterio band called Los Terribles del Norte, who are resplendent in tight, purple satin Western suits and black cowboy hats. The bands have nothing in common, other than the fact that they all call Mexico home. As La Conquista takes the stage, a crowd of women and young girls moves to the front. \(A notable exception is the slightly tipsy man who thrusts a turkey leg in the air in time to the catchy cumbia beat when the women launch into their La Conquista was formed in 1997 by two sisters from Monterrey, MexicoMarcela “Machy” and Monica de la Garzaalong with bassist Cecilia “Cecy” Trevino. They have since been joined by Diandra Flores on backup vocals and Cynthia Rangel on keyboards. On their first two albums, the women of La Conquista fought to convey an edgy street look. But misguided record execs dressed them in hokey Western outfits in an effort to market them as a Norteno band. “They didn’t get what we were all about,” says Monica, the band’s accordion player. “Urban cumbia is what we like and what we identify with.” Urban cumbia, a combination of up-tempo accordion-driven melodies mixed with reggae and hip-hop backbeats, is growing in popularity in Monterrey. Fans of the music are sometimes called colombianos in homage to the country of origin of cumbia music. The women of La Conquista have fully embraced a decidedly urban aesthetic with flaming hair colors, piercings, and showy hip-hop inspired gear. On stage at SXSW, the group breaks into a funky hip hop and cumbia single, “La Chica Conquista,” that has been heavily rotating on Latin MTV THE TEXAS OBSERVER 4/09/04