A four-song EP in English and Spanish that features three English-language classics but with bilingual lyrics along with one completely in Spanish.
The tracks are “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy/Santa Se Parece a Papi,” “Silent Night/Noche de Paz,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Navidad Me Hace Llorar.” The record features the band’s distinctive sound mixing Mexican norteño and American country music genres.
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Entire Christmas albums by vocalists or bands are not that common in Mexico, except for a few powerhouse stars like Luis Miguel, Tatiana and Pandora.
Holiday-concept albums are even rarer in regional Mexican music, with artists staying away from something that has been often more associated with a plethora of American artists like Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Garth Brooks and Mariah Carey.
Inspired by a wealth of Christmas albums by artists of country music, a genre she loves, Denisse chose to do the same in norteño music. Four years ago, her band released “Navidad Junto a Ti,” an album featuring 11 tracks of norteñas, ballads and country that included Spanish versions of American classics like “Blanca Navidad” (“White Christmas”) “Rodolfo El Reno” (“Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”) and the Jose Feliciano bilingual smash, “Feliz Navidad.”https://newsletter.laprensasonoma.com/framed/single/f6980e5212e2832c6fe7e4e56f9dc844?pref=lps_weekly&hideImage=1&fid=8834
The unorthodox record brought her some criticism but also proved to be a hit. Her band has become a regular act at holiday events throughout Mexico and the U.S.
A little Christmas
“I’m like the Mexican Mariah Carey,” she adds merrily, referring to the American superstar whose 1994 song “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has become a holiday staple. https://www.youtube.com/embed/gGQpskt53To
Now Laura Denisse y Los Brillantes is doubling down on holiday music with “Little Christmas.” The plan is to release two tracks by December, the jolly “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy/Santa Se Parece a Papi” and “Navidad Me Hace Llorar,” (“Christmas makes me cry”) a song that deals with a personal loss.
Denisse penned the latter song thinking of her grandfather, Adan Lopez, who passed away in November of 2014.
“That year’s Christmas was not joyful,” she recalls, adding that her grandfather was a pillar of the family. Recorded first in 2017, the ballad’s new version features a piano arrangement.
“It’s very hard for me to sing it but I believe we have to bring out our deepest feelings,” says Denisse. https://www.youtube.com/embed/MFTF92-O3Mc
She hopes the song will touch people who have lost loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, maybe offering a catharsis for bottled-up emotions.
“That’s what music is about, to express the things we truly want to say,” adds the singer/songwriter.
Nashville, here we come
The new, bilingual Christmas EP comes out at a time when Laura Denisse y Los Brillantes have their sights set on the American music market.
“We play American country music but with our Mexican roots. That makes us unique, and Americans seem to like it.”
In 2020 the Monterrey, Mexico band released two albums that reached across the Texas border. The first one, “Tejanas Para Siempre,” or Tejanas forever, paid homage to female singers of Tejano music like Laura Canales and Elsa Garcia.
The second, “Country in My Soul, México en Mi Corazón,” is a collection of covers of country hits like “Ring of Fire” and “Folsom Prison” but featuring accordion and bajo sexto, two popular instruments used in music from northern Mexico. https://www.youtube.com/embed/rhIAlHkrPFE
“We play American country music but with our Mexican roots,” she states. “That makes us unique, and Americans seem to like it.” https://www.youtube.com/embed/AQnzn0GuyCk
In addition to its bilingual holiday EP, Laura Denisse y Los Brillantes is set to release another country album early next year that was recorded entirely in Nashville. Titled “Fortune” and with songs in English and Spanish, the record was produced by Misael Arriaga and features a song written by country music star Lillie Mae. That tune, “It’s Your Life,” will be the album’s first promotional track.
“We are very hopeful we’ll be able to make the crossover,” concludes Denisse.