Priscila y Sus Balas de Plata (Priscila and Her Silver Bullets) turned heads as the first popular norte+¦o group to feature a female accordion player. They also heralded a new generation in norte+¦o music by filling their band with hunky late-adolescent musicians, chipping away at the notion of those groups being led by heavyset middle-aged men. Siblings Priscila (b. 1978, accordion, keyboards, vocals), Tirzo Jr. (accordion, keyboards, vocals) and Ursula Camacho (percussion, vocals) were born in Mexico City to a musical family -- their father Tirzo Paiz (born Tirzo Camacho) is a successful composer and producer. The Camacho clan grew up in showbiz, with the gifted Priscila singing on national television at age five and appearing in two Mexican movies before age ten. Hoping to follow her father's profession, she took up guitar and piano at age 10, with the goal of leading a group. The family moved to norte+¦o capital Monterrey in 1991. Seeing legendary norte+¦o accordionist Ramon Ayala in concert tempted her to learn the accordion. Encouraged by her father and brother, she put her fear of ridicule aside and began studying the squeeze box at age 16. By 1994, the siblings were ready to put the group together, with Tirzo Sr. holding auditions for bass, guitar and drums.
Tirzo Sr. worked the youngsters over for the next year, finally pitching a demo to FonoVisa in 1995 when he was satisfied with their progress. The result was Corazonadas ("Urges"), an album released only in Mexico. The first single, ranchera "Ay Coraz+¦n" ("Oh Heart"), was a local hit with its irresistible hook and memorable video, which began with a taekwondo sparring match between Priscila and Ursula. The group specialized in "pop norte+¦o," a teen-friendly variation of the genre that includes country shuffles and blues-based licks along with the usual rancheras and cumbias. Absent are the outlaw tales called corridos that are so common to norte+¦o. Instead, they kept the lyrics focused on romance and puppy love on Corazonadas and its 1996 follow-up, Busco Novio ("Looking for a Boyfriend"), and the more adult kind on their 1997 CD La Cantante ("The Singer"). They also incorporated simple choreography into their live shows, hampered only by the fact that unlike their elaborately choreographed Latin-pop contemporaries, they had to carry and play their instruments while dancing. ~ Douglas Shannon
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