The young artist who belongs to the Rivera Dynasty presents her new album with banda and norteña, titled “Homenaje a las grandes”
By Pablo De Sainz
Jenni Rivera is known as Banda’s Diva.
She’s one of the few women that sing banda music and that take risks by singing corridos in their albums. Sister of the also controversial Lupillo Rivera, Jenni is part of a larger musical tradition, at a family level and artistic level.
Now, Jenni Rivera thanks all the women that with their music and songs have influenced her to continue working in her own musical career, and presents her new production, “Homenaje a las grandes” (“Tribute to the Greatest of All”) (Fonovisa, 2003).
“It’s a sort of an unwritten list that I have in my memory. There’s my admiration for the unmistakable style of Lucha Villa and Rocio Durcal, for the big dimension of Lola Beltrán, for the energy of Mercedes Castro, the expressive force of Lupita D’Alessio, the personality of Diana Ross, and the controversial talent of Gloria Trevi, who regardless of personal problems, no one can deny. Each one of them, in different categories, have given me something of value,” Jenni said.
And really, the list of female singers that have influence Jenni’s career is very diverse: from traditional songs by Lola Beltran to the rock songs by Alejandra Guzman and Gloria Trevi.
“I recorded all these songs because they’re my favorites and because of that I enter different genres and eras. This is the music that I listened to as a child,” Jenni said.
Jenni Rivera’s versatility is present in “Homenaje a las grandes,” as she herself said.
“I started doing different things. I recorded corridos to call out for attention at a moment when there were no women recording corridos. I probed that I could do it. Then I did a little bit of everything: Boleros, ballads, songs in English. Since I like all kinds of music, I can sing anything.”
Recorded in Culiacán, Sinaloa, “Homenaje a las grandes” is a very feminist album, where the female voice is outstanding. These songs talk about problems women face, such as fights between a couple and love deceptions. But, Jenni Rivera said she has nothing against men, as many might think.
“I only want to sing what women say. It’s not that I’m trying to offend men. On the contrary, we need men so much.”
“Homenaje a las grandes” includes 14 tracks in total, 10 with banda and four with norteño. All those songs, except “Homenaje a mi madre,” were great hits with other singers.
“All of those I consider great have the love and passion for music and the force to continue in a career dominated by masculine talent. That’s a challenge, a determination to keep on going.”
The list of songs and their original singers in “Homenaje a las grandes” are: “La papa sin catsup,” by Gloria Trevi; “A escondidas,” by Marisela; “Por un amor/Cucurrucucu Paloma,” by Lola Beltran; “Juro que no volveré”, by Lucha Villa and Rocío Dúrcal; “La tequilera”, by Beatríz Adriana; “Ahora vengo a verte”, by Mercedes Castro; “Hacer el amor con otro”, by Alejandra Guzmán; and “Where Did Our Love Go?”, by Diana Ross.
This last song is recorded in English. Jenni Rivera said she’s proud to be bilingual.
“Just as I respect my Mexican audience, I also have to respect my audience that like myself was born and raised in the United States, that also listens to music in English and that deserves a small detail on my part.”
“Homenaje a mi madre” is the only original song in the album, and it was written by Jenni as a tribute to her mother.
“Because of all the voices I heard, yours was the most influential and the one that has meant the most,” Jenni writes in her dedication.
Born in California, but raised under Mexican traditions, Jenni Rivera began singing thanks to her family’s support. Her family is known as “el Clan Rivera.”
“I have reached all of my goals. (I lost weight) to feel better with myself and because it helps my job. Besides, I’m a role model for many young women who suffer of overweight. It’s very sad to live with it, it’s nothing to make fun at. I understand them and I know that when they see my change, many girls will follow on my steps.”