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Celebrating the life of Selena with Bidi Bidi Banda’s Stephanie Bergara

April is Selena Quintanilla’s birth month, and her life and career are celebrated across Texas all month long. The Tejano star brought Mexican music styles to popular success throughout a career that was cut short by her tragic death in 1995.

Over the last 10 years, the Selena tribute band Bidi Bidi Banda has kept the spirit of Selena alive on stage with faithful renditions of some of her most popular songs. The band has played hundreds of shows around the country. Now, Bidi Bidi Banda’s founder Stephanie Bergara and her band are ready to explore new music projects.

A decade of honoring Selena’s memory

Bergara was one of many young Latinas inspired by Selena’s commercial success in music.

“I realized she was one of the first people I’d ever seen on television who looked like she could be related to me,” she said. “It just was such a cathartic feeling at 8 years old, for me to be like, I could do this.”

Many years later, Bergara was a musician playing to empty rooms. She pitched a one-off Selena tribute show for the now-defunct Pachanga Music Festival. Bergara and her band had a month to prepare for their show.

“The next thing I know, we’re playing a sold-out room at Empire Control Room, doing six Selena songs from scratch, which any musician will tell you is very, very hard,” she said. “I really and truly and honestly intended to do this show one time, and before we even got through the next week, I had three more shows before the end of the year.”

The band went on to build their profile as one of the seminal Selena tribute acts in the country. The performances evolved over the years, with Bergara trading in her homemade costumes in favor of her usual style. Despite not looking like Selena, the performances resonated with Selena fans across the country.

“We’re trying to capture the energy, not trying to be the girl in the purple jumpsuit,” she said. “If the energy is the same and you get that same feeling of like the opening moments of the Houston Rodeo disco medley, that’s what we want.”

Bergara and the band have been exploring their music careers away from Bidi Bidi Banda for a while, and the choice to pull back after a decade of success is meant to give them more time to dedicate to those projects. But the band is not retiring completely.

“We are what we’re calling ‘George Strait retiring,’ which means that if something big comes up, we certainly will consider it,” Bergara said. “My hope is to pull back from 70 shows and maybe do 15 shows.”

The band won’t start scaling back until 2025.

Where to celebrate Selena

Selena superfans can test their knowledge about the Tejano icon at in South Austin. It’s a great way to celebrate Selena’s birthday on Tuesday.

On Friday, head to the French Legation State Historic Site for a presented by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. Those who arrive at 6 p.m. will be treated to archival footage of Selena’s concerts before the movie starts.