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National hermana-act Las Fénix to headline MidWest LatinoFest

By Kevin Milliken for La Prensa


A Houston-based, five-sister band will headline the entertainment at this year’s MidWest LatinoFest on Saturday, June 8, 2013, noon to 11 p.m. at Promenade Park in downtown Toledo.


Las Fénix will take center stage at 9 p.m. The five Rodríguez sisters feature Tejano and regional Mexican music popular in La Frontera in a repertoire that festival organizers hope will appeal to Latinos of all ages and backgrounds.

According to the band’s biography, Las Fénix started unofficially in 1999, when four of the sisters surprised their father David Rodríguez on his birthday by singing a couple of songs. He now manages the band with support from the entire family. Sr. Rodríguez has recorded his own music as a solo act in the past—mainly to pass out to family and friends. He is originally from Uruapan, Michoacán, México.


Nadia, 23, plays bass guitar. Lesli, 22, is one of the lead singers and plays the Bajo Quinto guitar. Adela, 21, plays the drums. Berna, 19, is a lead singer and plays the accordion. The youngest sister Anahi, a 12-year-old still in junior high school, only recently joined the band and plays percussion. She also tours with the band when she’s not in school.


“At the beginning, she wasn’t really into it. But whenever we would sign posters or pictures, she was right there next to us,” said Adela. “So when she was signing pictures, my dad was like—‘if you’re going to be in the pictures, why not be in the band?’ So she joined and it’s a lot of fun having her around. But she really doesn’t like to practice that much. She does a good job and hanging around us now has a better understanding of what it takes.”

“I’m happy and I’m excited to be in the band,” said Anahi, who admitted she looks up to her older sisters. “When I’m not there, our fans get all mad because I’m not there and I like that.”


Anahi admits she “gets special attention” from her dad because she is so much younger than the other members of the band.


“My dad, he pushes the others to do their best, but not so much me—because my sisters do that instead,” Anahi said. “I like the fact many of our fans are younger kids like me.”


Education is important to the Rodríguez family


The older four girls take online college courses part-time. Nadia is studying accounting. Lesli hopes to go to law school someday. Adela wants to be a veterinarian. Berna plans to become a teacher. Anahi already plans to go to medical school and become a doctor.


“We know this won’t last forever, so we aspire to other things,” explained Nadi by phone from the band’s Houston office. “We’re having fun while it lasts and sharing it with our family. We’re never alone. This is a really great, great thing in our lives and it keeps us sisters together.”


The band’s performance will be the first time in Toledo, but they’ll make a second stop the following day in Cincinnati. Las Fénix, has released five CDs to date, including its latest effort, Perfume. A sixth, as-yet untitled CD will be released sometime this summer. It is described as half cover tunes from the 1990s and the other half original songs penned by the band’s producer and another songwriter. But the band does write many of its own songs that have appeared on prior releases.



“So we’re giving our audience songs that they know, songs that were really well-done but we do them in our own style,” said Lesli.


Lesli is considered by her sisters as the unofficial leader of the band. Her sisters call her a guiding force in decision-making and that they usually agree with her reasoning.


Las Fénix is considered an up-and-coming act in the Latino music industry. Just two years ago, the band signed with a major record label in the Latino industry known as Disa/Universal.

The family-oriented band promotes itself heavily wherever it performs, conducting radio, TV, and newspaper interviews extensively. The group has performed all over the U.S. including California, New Mexico, and as far away as Illinois, Georgia, and Florida. The eldest sister Ana serves as the band’s office manager, fielding phone requests for interviews and booking shows. The six sisters have four brothers.

Las Fénix pays homage to both its Tejano and Mexican cultural heritage, by singing its music in English and signing in Spanish. The band also plays a high-energy stage show that allows the audience to dance along to the songs.


“I think that’s how we get people to come out and see us,” said Lesli. “I think about half the people stand there watching and recording things because they’ve never seen five girls on stage singing and dancing and playing. The other half is singing and dancing right along with us.”


“It’s fun. It’s not a bunch of strangers who came together and said, ‘Hey, let’s make a band,’” added Adela. “It just came naturally to us and on stage, we just really connect. If someone is doing something wrong, we just look at each other. I think being sisters just makes it more special and more unique. Even having our parents there each time—we’re really grateful for it.”


“We’re all bonding and we’re all together. It’s really a beautiful thing,” added Berna.


The young musicians in the band also encourage their peers to fall in love with a sport or music or art, as a means of avoiding negative influences and people. The sisters maintain the best part about being on stage and entertaining is hearing the applause of the audience and the kind words they receive following a performance.


“It keeps people out of trouble, I think. The music has really helped us. If we weren’t doing this, I don’t know where we’d be,” admitted Berna. “This has really kept us down-to-earth and united. There’s a lot of bad things going on in the world right now and this has kept us focused.”


“I’m occupied and not doing drugs like other teens,” said Anahi, who called it a fun outlet. “I’m busy doing music and not other bad stuff like other teens.”


Admission to MidWest LatinoFest is $5, but is free for children 11 and under, senior citizens age 65 and older, as well as anyone who shows a military ID.


Copyright © 1989 to 2013 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05/28/13 19:25:08 -0700.




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