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A. B. Quintanilla y Los Kumbia Kings / Kumbia AllStarz

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A. B. Quintanilla y Los Kumbia Kings / Kumbia AllStarz

A.B. Quintanilla

Courtesy EMI

Original Kumbia Kings Band Members:

  • A.B. Quintanilla (bass, vocals)
  • Cruz Martinez (keyboard)
  • DJ Kane (vocals)
  • Frankie J (vocals)
  • Baby Drew (vocals)
  • Alex Ramirez (keyboard)
  • Roy Ramirez (percussion)
  • Frankie Aranda (percussion)
  • Jorge Pena (percussion)
  • Jesse Martinez (drums)
  • Robert del Moral (drums)

A.B. Quintanilla:

Abraham (A.B.) Quintanilla III has been part of the music business for most of his life. Born Dec 13, 1963 in Toppenish, WA, he started performing in the family business with Selena y Los Dinos in 1978. The band originally consisted of A.B., father Abraham Quintanilla Jr., sisters Suzette and Selena the sister who would become the very personification of tejano music to much of the world.

Selena y Los Dinos:

The group's first album, Selena y Los Dinos came out in 1984 on a local label, Freddie Records. (Ten years later it was repackaged as Mis Primeras Grabaciones.) The album was co-produced by A.B. and his father; A.B. also wrote a couple of songs on the album. He went on to produce and write/cowrite the group's next few albums. In 1988, A.B. was nominated for "Song Writer of the Year" at the Tejano Music Awards.

When Selena was signed by EMI in 1984, the 'Los Dinos' portion of the group's name was dropped. The first album for EMI, Selena, was produced by A.B.; the songs on Selena were also written by A.B. along with Pete Astudillo and the group's keyboardist, Ricky Vela. These were the songwriters that composed many of Selena's songs for the next few years, until the tragic shooting death of Selena in 1995.

Los Kumbia Kings Is Born:

The Quintanilla family was naturally devastated; except for some co-writing credits, A.B. withdrew from music for the next 4 years. In 1999, he reappeared with his own group, A.B. Quintanilla y Los Kumbia Kings.

Unlike Selena y Los Dinos, Los Kumbia Kings was a large band and no one member was the 'star' performer. In fact, the major figure was A.B. himself. While he played bass and sang background vocals in the group, he did start promoting himself with the 'A.B. Quintanilla' label before many of the album names.

First Album - Amor, Familia y Respeto:

The King's first album, Amor, Familia y Respeto was both a popular and critical success. It sold over 1/2 million copies and was nominated for a Grammy, Latin Grammy and Billboard Latin Music Awards. Their second album Sshhh! was released in 2001 and quickly hit #1 on the charts.

Mutiny:

Concerns and accusations about money seemed to foment in the group from it's inception. In 2002/2003, band members starting leaving the group amidst claims that they were underpayed (or not being paid). Deserters included Baby Drew, both Ramirez brothers and Frankie Aranda, who started their own band, K1.

But the critical loss was that of lead vocalists, DJ Kane and Frankie J, who both went on develop their own individual careers.

PeeWee Gonzalez - New Lead Vocalist:

At the end of 2003, A.B. brought on replacements for the old band members. Chris Perez (Selena's husband) and Abel Talamantez (from Menudo) came on board. But the big surprise was the new lead vocalist, 16 year old PeeWee Gonzalez (Irvin Salinas), who became an instant teenage heartthrob with the release of 2004's Fuego.

Controversy and Scandal:

The new Los Kumbia Kings were more popular than ever, and 2006's A.B.Quintanilla Presents Kumbia Kings Live! won a Latin Grammy.

Then, those pesky money matters came up again, this time with A.B. accusing co-founder Cruz Martinez of stealing money from the group. The arguments were bitter and public; accusations were hurled on television and in the press.

This was followed by an unfortunate video on YouTube of A.B. denigrating Mexicans and legal suits over ownership of the "Kumbia Kings" name.

Kumbia AllStarz:

As a result of the rift with Martinez, A.B. left the Kumbia Kings and regrouped under the name Kumbia AllStarz, taking the main attraction, PeeWee, with him. THe Kumbia AllStarz released their album A.B. Quintanilla: From Kumbia Kings to Kumbia AllStarz in 2007, containing the hit single "Chiquilla".

What's next? Well, it's still pretty confusing. While Cruz Martinez has continued to perform as Los Kumbia Kings, with the help of some ex-members who have or are talking about returning to the group, earlier this year A.B. won back the Kumbia Kings name. When there's another Kumbia Kings album released, which group will we be listening to? Will the Kumbia AllStarz go away? Will Cruz Martinez and friends perform under the name "Los Reyes de la Kumbia"? Will there be a Kumbia Queens?

Your guess is as good as mine. We'll keep you updated.

Selected Kumbia Kings Discography

Kumbia AllStarz

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