Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Sister Act Las Fenix to Headline Topeka Fiesta's Closing Night

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Sister Act Las Fenix to Headline Topeka Fiesta's Closing Night

Article excerpt

David Rodriguez, the father of the Latin pop and norteno sister act Las Fenix, which will headline closing night of the Topeka Fiesta Mexicana, didn't take his daughters' musical aspirations too seriously at first.

"You know if one of your kids asks you, 'Hey, maybe I want to play football,' you say, 'OK. No problem. Just do it.' You don't think it's going to be a big deal," he said from Houston, from where the band will drive to make its Kansas debut at 10 p.m. Saturday.

"My girls just like to sing," he said.

Rodriguez admitted others recognized their potential before he did.

"They asked me if I was going to the name the band. They need a commercial name. Why?" he recalled. "Just call them the Rodriguez Sisters. That's what they are."

However, lots of people, especially the media, did notice the act, which the proud father did understand.

"They are five beautiful girls," he said of Nadia, 24, who plays electric bass; Lesli, 23, who plays the bajo quinto, a Mexican guitar which has 10 strings in five double courses; the 22-year-old drummer Adela; Berna, 21, whose instrument is the button accordion; and the band's youngest and newest member, Anahi, 15, who plays timbales, which are shallow, metal-cased drums.

At first, the Rodriguez sisters didn't play instruments. When they got serious as a band and adopted as their name the Spanish word for the mythological bird of Greek mythology, their father got tired of hired band members who didn't share his and his daughters' work ethic.

Rodriguez, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Mexico who toiled for years to build a successful landscaping business, expected a full day's work for a full day's pay.

"I got tired of the freaking musicians. Not responsible," he said, searching for a second for the right English word. "They show up late."

"I think it's time for you girls to play your own instruments," he remembers telling his daughters.

Rodriguez said he tried to learn to play a musical instrument but got frustrated by having to learn chords and scales by practicing them over and over and over again.

So he told the person he hired to teach his daughters to first teach them to play two or three songs so later as they were perfecting their technique and got bored, they could always fall back on the songs they knew. …

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