Saturday, April 09, 2005

Selena and Helena and Relays weekend

Read no further if you are not in search of a roundup of rants. For whatever reason, today's local daily did a brief feature on Selena Vive, the extravaganza this week at the former Astrodome in Houston that was televised live on Univision. The genesis of all this must have been a realization that the U.S.-based portion of Univision, except for the novelas, has a heavy Cuban influence and that, demographically speaking, there needs to be more attention paid to the border states. There were many national sponsors and there was plenty of attention paid to the Quintanillas. It's only fair to say that the Kumbia Kings, despite being a wholly owned subsidiary of the family enterprise, are really, really talented. Mostly or only EMI-Latin artists were asked to appear, so that ruled out Emilio, which probably suited everybody fine, since, even though he and Selena recorded at least one duet together and appeared on the same bill sometimes, he's been in some trouble lately. Gloria Estefan didn't even sound live. Paulina Rubio and Alejandra Guzman gave it their all. The saddest sight was to see Bobby Pulido sing a truncated song and then have to introduce Jay (La Voz) Perez to follow him, who really hammed it up and was ludicrous in a white Kangol. Graciela Beltran has really matured since we heard her out at the rodeo that year. We saw only some of the show, missing Ana Barbara and several others. They must have drawn their Selena songs out of a hat.

The big complaint of the AA-S reporter was that different performers pronounced Selena's name in different ways, sometimes even rhyming it with "Helena." "Helena" is a particularly poor word to chose, since the Montana capital is HELL-en-a, the old-time American pronunciation is "hell-EEEN-a," and in other circumstances it's prnounced "el-LANE-a" or "hel-LANE-a." And it's "sell-EEN-a," though it's not surprising that the miscellaneous roundup of performers from other parts of the Latin world said "sell-ENN-a" or "sel-LANE-a." What was the reporter's point?

Of course, it took me a long time as a kid to realize that "Great Aunt Moriah" (I thought she was named after the Mount Moriah Masonic temple) was really "ma-RYE-uh," spelled M-A-R-I-A. The so-called "American" pronunciation was not "ma-REE-uh" in those days.

Speaking of the local daily, it gave the Texas Relays - Hilton Hotel piece the above-the-fold play that it deserves, even though in the second section. But the reporter did not obtain the contract in dispute and did not quote liberally enough from the promoter's cancellation e-mail. I wonder whether the AP wire and subsequently other papers nationally will pick up this story as they did the APD - Cash - Baylor - Midtown news of a few weeks ago.


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