Milwaukeño Overthinks…. La Niña Fresa

While social distancing and tirando té at Milwaukeño HQ, located in a top secret hidden bunker under the Hoan bridge (Zoom), we started to feel some nostalgic pangs for a simpler time… a time when a fella could leave the house in a fringe white leather jacket and absurdly tight wranglers….a time when actually buttoning your shirt was optional….the Latino early 90s!!!! As a result we all revisited the 90s classic banda hit, La Niña Fresa by Banda Zeta

Here is what we thought:

Juan Miguel Martínez – MKÑ Contributor
Hold on hold hold on STAAAAAP MAAN…sweat forms around my chubby hairline, fresh buzzcut and my dad put some of his old spice on my head. My cousins and i are bringing together the corners of a sheet of newspaper and we’re gonna light it on fire. It’s called a brujita and i can’t wait to see it fly up in the air. It’s November, cold out here and we have no jackets.Pablo had a lighter, he was definitely the biggest travieso. Sammy had the silver teeth though. Neal had zubaz pants and was acting as lookout. HURRY HURRY LIGHT IT says sammy, sniffling his pinky. He does that because of a nervous tic. We are outside st Patrick’s church hall, by the wall that faces the parking lot. Pablo gets it going and it flies up and the thing instantaneously combusts and we all collectively yell AHHH ITS ON FIRE HAHAHAHA. We don’t hear the door open to the vestibule.  Out steps a faceless figure and yells at us – HEY WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU KIDS DOING! 

GO GO GO SAYS PABLO. We run back inside, and it’s humid as hell and smells like the chile rojo from the tamales. My dress shoes hurt my heel with each step of my foot. My dress shirt is too tight on my belly and the button pops. We run into the party, “La niña fresa” playing unnecessarily loud and we hop/run around on the dance floor, our tio and Tia’s movements jolting us into each other. We hurtle ourselves onto steel folding chairs and sit side by side. DID YOU SEE THAT? 

WHO SAW US
SOMEONE SCREAMED AT US
THAT WAS SOOO COOL
La niña fresa keeps playing.

Mirella Ramirez – MKÑ Contributor
I remember this song because people started calling other persons  “fresa” for any reason. If you said, “I prefer this instead of … “ they call you “niña fresa” and use the thone voice of the girl in the song to repeat what you had said. I also remember that my grandfather said that music was horrible and the way to dance (“ quebradita ”) was indecent. My cousins were scolded for listening to those songs.

Claudio A. Cortés – That one vaguely handsome Latino guy from work @Seesquaired
Whoooaah, where did you pull this one from? Talk about a blast from the past, where can I find myself a white leather fringe jacket? Maybe we all learn a coordinated dance to this for our first post rona meet up? This takes me back to my dad’s record shop in the early nineties, that triumphant horn line really jarrs awake some feelings and very specific images of mustachioed dudes with super tight jeans and super unbuttoned patterned shirts, may be worth revisiting for summer 2020.Lyrically  I could never understand why this man bothered to be with this woman if he is just going to bully her about her choices, peak 90s machismo, like dude maybe she doesn’t want to order anything because you told her that you were going on a date and invited your entire band instead, what did you expect out of this experience.

Nicole Acosta – MKÑ Contributor
Holy quinceñera flashback! As soon as those horns hit –  so did the party. You couldn’t tell anyone back then that this song wasn’t the ultimate banda anthem. Things were different in my teen years. Every weekend there was a quince or wedding to attend, which meant a new opportunity to celebrate and dance the night away. I remember my primas and I would gather on Saturday nights to get ready. Dressing in flare bottom pants, lacy tops, brown lipstick and of course our hoop earrings. We were likely listening to a mix of cumbia and freestyle while chatting about which boy we hoped to see that evening. Looking back, those were some of the best times of my life. I was so connected to my family, friends and tradition. I can’t remember the last time I attended a quince or wedding. But I’m perfectly ok with holding onto those special memories of women running around in their tacones engaging in chisme, men in their cowboy hats drunk and belting out love songs and us first gen kids looking upon the dancefloor at the adults enjoying a night off free from work, bills and labels.

Sal Gómez – MKÑ Content Curator
I first heard this song back when I was in sixth grade while living in Jalisco, Mexico in the mid-nineties. This song was a total hit! I would run into this song just about everywhere:  watching TV, on the car radio, at the corner store, family gathering and fiestas, even at school during recess and student performances/talent shows.  The song was also used by students to tease girls (and boys) who were portrayed as being the “stuck up” or the “Fresas” at school. I have to admit I was not much into the music style of the song, but the rhythm and lyrics were very catchy and eventually found myself singing along.

One interesting memory I have if this song is that people, including myself at first, used to think La Niña Fresa was performed by Banda Machos, which was another popular band at the time in the Quebradita and Tecnobanda genres. Perhaps Banda Machos performed a cover of La Niña Fresa at some of their concerts since it was such a popular song and that is why people were confused about its origin. To this date, some people still remember “La Niña Fresa” as being a song by Banda Machos… Mexican “Mandela effect” anyone?​

With a catchy rhythm and simple, yet relevant lyrics from the 90’s (and perhaps today), La Niña Fresa still holds up very well when played at Mexican family gatherings, Weddings and Quinces… making this song a great option for the nostalgic Mexican party playlist.​

Luis Saavedra – MKÑ Fan
I remember listening to this song in the background, on the radio (WOJO FM-105 Evanston/ Chicago) when I would do my homework… I learned what a person who is called a “fresa” was based on the context of the song. As in many other banda songs from the 90s, this song has a catchy tune that makes me want to bounce up and down exactly how the video shows.

Alma Velez – MKÑ Fan
Well when I hear this song it definitely takes me back to the mid 90’s being a midriff wearing teenager with the mom jeans y pintándome en el autobús con el lipstick que robé a mi mamá porque no me dejaban usar maquillaje. Ironic how now a 10 year old knows how to put better makeup than I can. Cuando íbamos a las tardeadas los Domingos en la discotheque “News”, nobody wanted to admit to liking the song but EVERYBODY knew how to dance the quebradita to it. They played it everywhere, at every quinceañera, wedding, shower, Siempre En Domingo, en el tianguis…it was everywhere! Y claro yo era niña fresa of course, cualquiera that grew up with Soraya Montenegro as her role model was a “Nina fresa”.

Marcelo Martínez – MKÑ Fan
“La Niña fresa” transports me to the type of party In a Milwaukee Public Park in the 1990s. It paints a picture of twilight with a party at its peak, kids are running around with their primos, the tíos are in a circle drinking beer, the tías are gossiping. There is the occasional break where the tios/tias come together to dance one fast song as well as the teenaged primo/as with their new partners to dance around the boom box  as the smoke of the arracherra envelops the air in a sea of tejanas.

Pedro Perez Valdez – MKÑ Fan
When thinking about the song “La niña fresa” by Banda Zeta I can’t help but think about my childhood in the early 90s. It takes to las fiestas where my Tia and tío would go wild when that song came on. It’s a nolstagic song due to the fact that it takes me to a time in which for the duration of the song you forgot about your problems and enjoy singing “que es lo que quiere la nena, que es lo quiera la reina, la niña fresa, la niña fresa. It’s a song that makes me so content and my mind starts wanting to dance quebradita! Such a gem in the Mexican culture.

What did you think about that song? hit us up on Twitter @Milwaukeno 

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