Trending
MOST READ
SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the San Antonio... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Food & Drink: There was a special kind of draw at Alamo Ice House on a recent Tuesday evening. A handful of weeks after opening its... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/22/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

Food & Drink: Cheesy Jane’s. Multiple locations, cheesyjanes.com. If the name is any indicator, this San Antonio staple doesn’t mess around when it comes to... By Tommie Ethington 10/22/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Music

Is Zavala the potential savior of Tejano music?

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Zavala is not "Tejano" — he's "something else."


As singer Stefani Montiel's husband/producer, as a member of Lush, and as the host of Tejano y Más for the last four years (KSAT Channel 12, 11:30 p.m. Saturdays), up until now Gabriel Zavala has done his best to adjust to what "being a Tejano musician" was: a mild polka beat here, a little sax and keyboards there, corny (and awkward) Spanish-language lyrics, and a desire to play "for the fans."

He's been just one in a long list of Tejano musicians stubbornly embracing a genre that has been on life support since, well, forever; especially since Selena's and Emilio's and La Mafia's heyday in the '90s. But two things happened to Zavala, and he's now a man on a mission: to offer a more contemporary, sophisticated, and edgy version of the genre.

The first turning point took place in 2010, when Stefani Montiel's Divina (which he produced) lost a Best Tejano Album Grammy to Los Texmaniacs' Borders y Bailes in 2010.

"We strongly felt [Divina] was the one," Zavala told the Current. "We worked so hard on that one." The loss (a fair one, since the conjunto-based Borders y Bailes was superb) proved to be a blessing in disguise: it opened Zavala's and Montiel's eyes to the fact that, rather than continuing to rehash an old formula, they had to find their own sound.

Zavala's first solo album, released last August, sent a somewhat misleading message: on the surface, Algo Alternativo ("something alternative") seems to be yet another Tejano concoction, but a closer listen shows strong tracks, imaginative arrangements, and a cry for help: "Yo sé que pronto llega mi hora favorita" ("I know my favorite hour is coming soon"), he sings on the title track. His "favorite hour" may well be Montiel's imminent new release, Paraíso (Paradise), which will include — thank God — more English-language tracks than usual.

"Let's face it: we're not that, how could I say this… fluent in Spanish" said the multi-instrumentalist Zavala. "What's the point of singing in Spanish when we don't speak it that often? You have to be true to yourself and do what you're best at."

Judging by a few tracks he played for me, Paraíso confirms Zavala as a producer to reckon with, but it's still only a glimpse of what may be: Zavala taking upon himself the reinvention of a genre that desperately needs a make-over; if anyone could do it, it's him.

Friday's Tejano y Más industry mixer is open to the public and a good chance to start bidding farewell to Zavala's and Montiel's old selves: yes, Tejano fans will find what they would expect from a "Tejano."

"But hopefully they'll find some more," Zavala said before shooting a little joke. "After all, my show is Tejano y Más [Tejano and More], isn't it? This is it for us. We're entering new territory, and we're not looking back."

Tejano y Más VIP Industry Party feat. Gabriel Zavala, Stefani Montiel, Ricky Valenz, DJ Fuse and more

$10 (acoustic stage downstairs, 6pm)
$20 (VIP party upstairs with headliners, 8pm)
6pm Fri, Mar 15
Señor Tequila
110 Produce Row
(210) 624-9510

Recently in Music
  • The Otherworldly Appeal of Pure X’s ‘Angel’ Before we treat the music of Pure X’s third LP Angel, let’s take a moment to appreciate the airbrushed brilliance of its album art. On a... | 10/22/2014
  • The Infinite Blues of Woodstock Alums Canned Heat Thirty-two bands played the original Woodstock back in 1969. Of those 32, two are still at it today. And if you discount Santana on the grounds that he’s really more a guy than a band at this point, well, that just leaves Canned Heat. Half a century is a | 10/22/2014
  • Step Off: How Kacey Musgraves won Nashville Though she was born in 1988 and released her first recordings at the age of 14, Texas native Kacey Musgraves has always... | 10/22/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus