Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known to many as the “Queen of Tejano music,” is celebrated with the release of La Leyenda. As with many of these sorts of special box sets, there are a few different formats available. I was supplied with the two-disc special edition, but there is also a four-disc box set and a single-disc edition available.
The two-disc special edition collects a total of 30 tracks from the 82 used on the four-disc box set. The CDs offer a nice overview of Selena’s career, highlighting various styles and stages.
Selena’s life story is one of triumph and tragedy, as many know. She was born in Texas to Mexican-American parents and released her first record at the age of 12. From there, her success launched her to the first of many Tejano Music Awards in 1987. Selena was given a recording contract with EMI and soared to record-setting fame throughout the Spanish-speaking world and beyond.
Amor Prohibido was one of Selena’s most successful records. Released in 1994, the Latin pop record is one of the biggest selling Latin albums of all time. After the blistering popularity of Amor Prohibido in Mexico and the United States, Selena planned to release an English language album.
Sadly, Selena was murdered just two weeks prior to her 24th birthday. Shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar in 1995, Selena’s career was over before it had a chance to break on English-speaking audience. Her death sent shockwaves around the world, but her legacy was apparent with the immediate success of Dreaming of You, an incomplete album that would shatter many world records in music.
La Leyenda collects memories from Selena’s career and arranges them beautifully. Listening to these songs is both a smart testimony to what might have been and a delightful account of the magnificence that was. Selena's spark is evident on each of the tracks and her passion for performing is clear.
It is amazing to think that Selena would have been 39 on April 16th of this year. These songs stand as evidence of a career cut short, but Selena also offers a maturity through these tracks that few artists can gather even today. Even so, this Selena is tragically forever young.
Listen to the passion evident in “Si Una Vez,” for instance, or the aware playfulness of “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.” Selena’s class and dignity infuse each song, making her appeal clear. Her ability to draw accolades and praise from fans from all walks of life is clear on each piece of music on La Leyenda.
Selena’s biggest English language tracks are here, too, including the gorgeous “I Could Fall in Love” and the cute and pleasant “Dreaming of You.” These songs nicely offset the tejano material and add more bricks to the foundation of Selena’s clear reputation for being an international star.
Along with the music, La Leyenda serves as a touching overview of Selena’s life and what she meant to her fans. The booklets of each edition of the collection include personal messages from Selena’s family, friends, and fans. The four-disc box set is the mother lode for fans, as it includes a Selena charm and four booklets.
The two-disc special edition of La Leyenda stands as an ideal collection for fans looking to continue the Selena experience. It may be15 years after the talented singer’s death, but her legacy lives on thanks to the quality of her songs, the charm of her ability and the sparkle in her eyes.