It's the twelfth anniversary of the untimely death of Tejano music queen Selena. Like a lot of people in the West and Southwest, I remember the day I heard that the president of her fan club shot her to death, a true Texas melodrama brought horrifically to real life just when Selena was about "crossover" into mainstream popland with an English-language album. Selena's death inadvertently gave us Jennifer Lopez, who became a superstar after playing the singer in the 1997 adaptation of her life by filmmaker Gregory Nava. Her memory lives on on bedroom walls and CD collections across America. And on "Hungarian Idol," where singer Angela Poka last year wowed judges with a stirring rendition of "Como La Flor." Enjoy:
I laughed at first, too. Then I took another viewing. Angela Poka, whoever she is, is actually quite good. Her voice is unrefined but her presence and performance are pretty winning. It's also interesting that Poka likely doesn't speak Spanish in the same way Selena did not. That didn't stop Selena from singing in Spanish either. Believe it or not, Mexican culture has fascinated people in Eastern Europe since at least the 1950s.
We miss you, Selena, but I'm also a bit grateful your death protects you from the pop-killer media machine that turns true stars like you into people like J-Lo. Here is Selena doing "Ya Vez," during her now-legendary 1995 concert at the Houston Astrodome. Enjoy that beautiful voice, gutsy, and at the same time, vulnerable: