Tonight is going to be a big night in Dallas. For the first time ever, there's a Selena tribute band out of Austin called Bidi Bidi Banda coming to town to play Annette Strauss Square at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and it’s the best thing happening in Dallas this week. THIS IS NOT A DRILL PEOPLE. THERE IS A SELENA TRIBUTE GROUP IN OUR CITY AND IT’S GOING TO BE AMAZING.
For you poor, uninformed souls who don't know about Selenas, she's the cultural icon who was born in Lake Jackson, raised in Corpus Christi and made a demigod by an adoring public. They were captivated by a young Latina woman who seemed destined for crossover stardom. The loss of Selena is still felt today, as was shown by her fans' outpouring in March, on the 20th anniversary of her passing.
Here in Dallas, we had a weekend of Selena that featured a car show, an art show, Selena karaoke, a Selena tribute night, a Selena lookalike contest, Selena themed DJ sets, dance nights and a free screening of the film based on the slain singer's life. There was also a campaign to make a Selena hologram a reality, plus the release of a previously unheard demo, "Oh No (I'll Never Fall in Love Again)." And that's saying nothing of the annual Fiesta De La Flor that takes place in Corpus Christi.
To say that Selena is kind of a big deal in Texas is an understatement; to say that she’s a major deal for the Latino populace of Dallas doesn’t come close to describing it. If you have any doubt, just wait till Halloween hits next week and the streets are flooded with people dressed like the singer in tribute to a state hero.
Better yet, go to Annette Strauss Square tonight, where you'll get the experience of an honest-to-goodness Selena cover band. Made up of some of Austin’s premier Latin musicians, Bidi Bidi Banda is the brainchild of Stephanie Bergara, a Selena superfan who also has the world’s greatest twitter handle, @StoneColdStephAustin.
Judging by the videos floating around the Internet, things are gonna be lit at Strauss Square. Bergara's idolization of the legendary singer shines through via her attention to detail. Bergara doesn't quite sound like the singer, but her dedication and energy are both on point. This type of performance is crucial, as Selena was well known for driving a crowd into a frenzy with her exuberance, and anything less would not be tolerated by a legion of fans who have had nothing but old videos for the last two decades.
There's a shifting of demographics in this country, and a Selena tribute being brought in to play one of Dallas’ fancies venues indicates that headway has been made. Strauss Square is one of Dallas' shiny, "Hey, look, we're an international city!" jewels, a place usually reserved for classic movies, James Taylor or a St. Vincent collaboration with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The mere fact that a tribute to a Tejano singer is performing there speaks volumes to the power of Selena.
If we can have tribute acts headlining 12,000 people fests at Gexa Energy Pavilion and playing to capacity crowds at the House of Blues all the time, why can't this Selena cover performance at Strauss Square be the start of something similar? The demand is definitely there. Los Angeles’ Metalachi does Mariachi covers of metal classics, and they’ve been touring almost endlessly over the last two years, proving there’s a market for Latin-flavored tribute acts. And while the hologram had us feeling a little queasy, there's no doubt it could pack venues if it were to ever come to fruition.
At the very least there's nothing uneasy about seeing Bidi Bidi Banda. It's respectful, and doesn’t feel exploitative in any way. This is a group of Selena fans performing music they love for an audience that loves the music — and that, like the lookalike contests or the fan art, is fitting for the cult of adoration that surrounds the legendary singer. There's every indication this won't be the last show of its kind here in Dallas, and you’re going to want to say you saw it first.