Various Artists

La Historia de Los Exitos: Banda

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Fonovisa Records celebrated their 25th anniversary in early to mid-2009 with a series of two-CD compilations, and one of them was La Historia de los Éxitos: Banda ("The History of the Hits: Banda"). This double-disc focuses exclusively on Fonovisa and Univision Records' contributions to Mexican banda music -- or rather, it focuses almost exclusively on banda. Ezequiel Peña's hit "Una Página Mas" was an inappropriate choice for this compilation because even though Peña is a jewel of a singer and "Una Pagina Mas" is a jewel of a ranchera standard, that particular track finds him enjoying mariachi backing rather than banda backing -- and as any regional Mexican enthusiast can tell you, mariachi and banda are two different things. But even if La Historia de los Éxitos: Banda isn't quite banda exclusive, it is certainly dominated by banda. The compilation is full of banda recordings by artists who are major names in regional Mexican music, including Graciela Beltrán ("Te Reto a Que Me Olvides," "Enséñame a Olvidar"), Banda Jerez ("La Baraja"), the seminal Banda el Recodo ("Y Llegaste Tu," "Te Ofrezco un Corazón"), the late Valentín Elizalde ("Soy Así," "Y Se Parece a Ti") and La Arrolladora Banda El Limón de René Camacho ("En los Puritos Huesos," "Media Naranja"). The latter should not be confused with La Original Banda El Limón de Salvador Lizárraga, and the Rogelio Martínez heard on "Ámame" is a regional Mexican star who should not be confused with the late Cuban salsa icon Rogelio Martínez (who led La Sonora Matancera and served as Celia Cruz' musical director). La Historia de los Éxitos: Banda illustrates banda's diversity, ranging from rancheras and corridos to Latin pop-influenced material -- and on the humorous "Estoy Enamorada," Yolanda Peréz even combines banda with hip-hop. Surprisingly, La Historia de los Éxitos: Banda doesn't contain anything by Jenni Rivera, but all things considered, this double-disc paints an attractive picture of the Fonovisa and Univision labels' contributions to banda.

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