Friday, December 13, 2013
Silvia Garcia likes to say that Tejano music is made up of a variety of styles and sounds. She feels comfortable performing a hybrid-style under the Tejano banner.
Born in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, and raised within the Progreso area, Silvia was first exposed to music from her father, Jose Moreno.
"Mi papa siempre estuvo en la musica, la musica tropical (My dad was always involved in music, tropical music)," Silvia said.
While watching her father play cumbias, the little eight-year-old Silvia became fascinated by the drum-set.
"No mas mirando (Just looking at) the drummer playing, I learned," Silvia said, explaining how she learned to play the drums.
Silvia's parents have always been involved with church and church-related activities. To this day, she notes that her parents are pastors at the Casa De David on Alamo Road. Performing for the church choir is where she got her first taste of singing.
While she had plenty of experience with Christian music, her Tejano journey began about eight years ago.
It all started when she decided to help her suegro (father-in-law). He had difficulty finding a reliable drummer, so Silvia began filling in. They performed throughout the local area.
Eventually, Silvia talked her sister, Mari Moreno, into joining her for a new musical venture. Rene Moreno, Silvia's brother who had just returned to the Valley, also became involved. The three would become known as Grupo Eskala, a group that would be managed by Silvia's husband, Rolando Garcia. Local accordionist Jesse Yanez also performs with the group.
"This is what I always wanted," Silvia said. "Desde chiquita, de que me acuerdo (Since I was little, since I can remember)."
Silvia likes to joke that she's to blame for starting the band. Their first live performance took place at the local livestock show. Silvia remembers giving out her first autograph that night, to a man that made the trip from Austin. If you ever meet Silvia, make sure to ask her about that night. She has a great sense of humor, and she'll have you laughing within seconds of meeting her.
The family-trio went to a recording studio in Harlingen, where they completed an album within a short time span. Haciendo Nuestra Historia, Grupo Eskala's debut album, was released in the middle of 2012. The most popular track in that album was "Dime", a composition by local songwriter Kid Zapper.
Shortly thereafter, Grupo Eskala made an appearance on El Show de Johnny y Nora Canales.
"It's an honor to be a part of this," Silvia said of her appearance. "We grew up watching all these shows de Aqui Rogelio, Johnny Canales, all these shows (that) promoted the talent of the Valley."
Silvia already has some new material that she plans to release soon. The first is an upcoming single titled "Madrigal", that she recorded with producer Bob Gallarza. The song, which was composed by a late Puerto Rican songwriter, is a piece of music that Silvia has very much connected with. "Madrigal" was written for the composer's daughter, who Silvia hopes to talk to one day.
"To me it's a big thing to get to know the family of the man who wrote this song," Silvia said. "You really have to be connect with what you're going to produce, what you're going to sing. To me it's very important."
While no date is set, "Madrigal" is set to be released within the next few weeks. More information will be coming out soon on the Grupo Eskala Facebook page.
Another recording that Silvia recently completed is a song that she says came to her in a Jenni Rivera-inspired dream. As soon as she woke up, she snatched up her phone and recorded what she remembered from her mesmerizing trip. Her fellow musicians helped in crafting the melody for the song. The final product is dubbed "Dulce Amor".
"To me it has a lot of meaning," Silvia said of this upcoming tune.
While she's proud of her success, she hopes that other local musicians are able to find opportunities to succeed. She feels the Valley has a lot of talent that deserves more recognition that it is currently getting.
Tejano music is close to her heart, and she feels the most apt comparison to the genre is a certain Mexican dish.
"La musica Tejana siempre me a llamado la atencion (Tejano music has always piqued my interest). Sera porque it has a lot of diversidad, poquito de todo (Perhaps it's cause it has a lot of diversity, a little bit of everything). It's like the capirotada. I always compare la onda Tejana, con la capirotada. (This Mexican dish contains) bananas, apples, and everything. It's so good."