Sonido Clash’s 3rd Annual Selena Tribute
The line at last year’s Selena Tribute Party curved around the block as hundreds of people, many decked out in Selena’s iconic sparkling stage costumes, waited in feverish anticipation to celebrate Selena, the “Queen of Tejano.”
The organizer is a San Jose-based music collective named Sonido Clash, which translates to “Sound Clash.” It refers to the worldwide music phenomenon of Latino alternativo or neo-cumbia music. It is a fusion, or clash, of cumbia, tropical, reggaeton, salsa, rap, electronic, house, and hip hop. Selena herself dared to meld together traditional Tejano sounds with pop and R&B, and it made her a mainstream superstar. Similarly, the members of Sonido Clash—all professional artists and producers—carefully curate the musicians and DJs in a way that appeals to most everyone, no matter their music preferences.
The result is an ecstatic, sweaty dance floor that is also a cultural experience. This isn’t simply a club night where Selena tracks are playing on a loop. This third annual tribute, on what would have been Selena’s 46th birthday weekend, will be a diverse, eclectic gathering that uses the same proven formula that led to the formation of this event’s loyal fan base: selectively curated DJs (many female), live music, a professional drag queen/Selena impersonator (the talented Danny Show), and the Selena Look Alike Contest. There will be two rooms of music, along with local vendors selling plenty of Selena swag.
Every year, a Latinx DJ is chosen to spin the official Selena Set. This year, Fresno’s OMÉDJ will headline at 11pm with all Selena track mixes.
Sonido Clash members DJ Chale Brown, Turbo Sonidero, and DJ Tlacoyo will spin cumbia, tropical mixes together with Selena tracks. The night will also include the Chulita Vinyl Club, a national music collective made up of female vinyl collectors and DJs. Corazon Salvaje, a Latino Chicano band from East San Jose (with a lead singer who has a passion for Tom Waits), will play Selena classics. Oakland’s Club Chai will be spinning future club music, a genre that combines non-western sounds and Latin rhythms. The idea behind this act is to challenge the crowd with danceable beats that they have not yet heard. Local favorite DJ Cutso will also spin.
The Selena Tribute Party is more than just a memorable party. It is multigenerational and beyond Latino—much like the late Selena Quintanilla, who transcended music genres, age, and ethnicity to become an American music legend. On April 15th, San Jose will celebrate her life and music for the third time.
Written by Anna Bagirov
Photography by Octavio Martinez