The Caliente Column

Elsa Garcia: Diez
By Doug Shannon (

Elsa Garcia doesn't worry about what her competitors are doing--she
forges her own style.

"I very rarely hear other Tejano artists' material because I don't
want to be subtly influenced by what they're singing or doing visually.
It's not that I'm not appreciative of what they've done--it's great,
because it's on the radio," she said.

Garcia, who now records simply under the name Elsa, is promoting her
new EMI Latin CD "Diez," an apt title for her tenth album in a ten-
year career.

She is especially fond of the title track, a cumbia that is garnering
airplay across Texas and Mexico.

"'Diez' was written especially for me by Beto Ramon," she said.
"I love his style of writing.  It's short, but its message is loud
and clear."

Known as Tejano's favorite guera, (though, as she points out, Tejano's
only guera) Elsa said her blond hair and light complexion came from
her mother.  She's also unique because of her production talents.

"I do the production and the arrangements.  I want to be able to take
the credit or the blame and not point fingers at anybody else."

The only outside musician used on "Diez" is Joel Guzman, the
virtuoso keyboardist and accordionist.

The next time you see Elsa live, take a close look at Jaime Jimenez's
instrument.  It's a bajoquinto, not a bajosexto.

"It has two less strings than a bajosexto, but the musician has
more technique, more control over the instrument," Elsa said.

Elsa was interviewed frequently in early April about her memories
of Selena.  Elsa says they were always competitors, but never rivals.
She was especially gratified by the support her fans gave her.

"People came up to me in Corpus Christi and said, 'We love Selena
but we love you too.  We don't want you to feel bad.'"

"They wanted autographs and pictures, and I felt so bad doing that,
but you can't turn your back on your fans and hurt their feelings,"
she said.

Like Selena, Elsa is one of the handful of Tejano vocalists to
receive widespread acceptance in Mexico.  Last year her single
"Todavia" hit No. 2 on the Nielsen charts in Mexico City.  Norteno
stations from San Luis Potosi to Monterrey play her hits alongside
songs by Bronco, Los Jokers, and other regional groups.

Her secret, she says, is that "we don't destroy the Spanish language.
We use more accordion and our pronunciation is a lot better than
some of the other artists."

"I was born in Monterrey, Mexico and raised on my grandfather's
ranch, Papagayos.  The people felt really proud that someone from
Mexico who went to live in the U.S. for whatever reason and then
came back, didn't forget her culture."

She now lives in the Houston area with her husband and three

Elsa's band includes:
Jose Carlos--backing vocals
Victor Miguel--percussions
Marguerito Flores--accordion
Joe Rodriguez--bass
Jesse Vasquez--drums
Isaac (doesn't use his last name) --keyboards
Jaime Jimenez--bajoquinto