Page 14


Monica de la Garza and Deandra Flores apply last-minute touches before their SXSW petformance and radio stations on both sides of the border. In the song written by the de la Garza sisters and bassist Trevino, Machy appropriates the bragging machismo of rap music: When I go to a club I don’t have to wait in line/When I hit the dance floor I don’t ever stop/my friends ask me what they have to do to become a conquista girl/so everybody will watch them too. As the women of La Conquista tear up the stage with their girl-power anthem, the men in back of the audience start to push their way to the front to check out the group. Monica sings and plays the accordion while Machy breaks into a guitar solo and Cecy lays down a solid bass rhythm. “We have been underestimated many times before,” says Monica de la Garza. “People think we don’t play our instruments but we play very well:’ There are a good number of female musical acts in Latin America, but Monica insists that La Conquista is the only cumbia group she knows of where all of the women play their own instruments. “Right now we are in a very male territory but we hope to open the door for other women to start cumbia bands,” she says. “We have a lot of young girls who come to our shows and we want to be an example to them.” The group’s manager has big plans for them. If the name “Abraham Quintanilla” sounds familiar, it should. Quintanilla, who signed La Conquista with his QProductions last year, is the father of Selena, the famous Tejano singer who was killed by her fan club founder in 1995. La Conquista recorded their most recent CD, Venciendo, in his Corpus Christi studio \(where son AB Quintanilla of the award-winning Kumbia Kings, Venciendo has a little bit of something for everybody from Tejano The finest tracks are the ones written by the band”La Chica Conquista” and “Yo Se,”songs that allow the band to play with attitude. The women of La Conquista are currently working on the singles for their next CD with Q-Productions. “We have to do the work to make it happen,” says Quintanilla. “We want the top for them, what every group wants, what Selena had.” Quintantilla is back in a familiar role; he displays a stern, and distinctly fatherly pride in the group’s growing success. He wants them to first concentrate on becoming big in the United States, then on taking their music to Mexico and the rest of Latin Americamuch as Selena did in the 1990s. Just before playing at SXSW in Austin, the group played in Miami, to thousands of fans at the huge Calle Ocho street festival. “They received a huge write up with their picture in the Miami Herald,” Quintanilla boasts. On their next album, says Machy, the group wants to take their music further out on an edge, with more hip hop and reggae. She’d also like to sport dreadlocks, but explains that Quintanilla would she shouts with mock indignation, then becomes more serious. “We want to have music in our lives as long as we can,” she says. “We want to go all the way to the top.” Melissa Sattley is a writer in Austin. 4/9/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25