Portales youth getting area airplay with Spanish 9/11 song

By Helena Rodriguez

A Spanish “corrido” or ballad about the second anniversary of Sept. 11 – recorded in Portales – is getting attention and airplay at radio stations around the area.
The voices behind the original patriotic tune belong to five Portales youth ranging in ages from 10 to 16. What’s more, all of the youth are family, made up of three siblings and sisters and two cousins.
Falan y La Juventud or “Falan and the Youth” is the name of the group that recorded the song, “Los Heroes de Nuestra Nacion, Segundo Aniversario.” The tune was written by their grandfather, Andrew Sisneros. In English, the song means “The Heroes of Our Nation, Second Anniversary.”
Falan Duran, lead vocalist of the group, is president of the Portales High School junior class. She is active in Teen Court, speech and debate and plays clarinet with the high school band. The group also includes her siblings, Aaron and Sierra, and two cousins, Noelle and Brianna Sigala.
Aaron plays bass guitar and is on the Portales Rams football team. He also plays trumpet with the Ram band and has a purple belt in karate.
Sierra plays keyboards and accordion and is active in Little League softball and the New Mexico Speed softball team.
Noelle is the group’s drummer. She plays clarinet with the Portales Junior High School band and is active in sports.
Brianna, the rhythm guitar player, is a student at Valencia Elementary School where she is active in softball and the New Mexico Speed softball team.
The recording is six minutes, almost twice as long as most radio songs. But that has not deterred radio stations in Santa Fe, Taos, Española, Santa Rosa, Muleshoe and Lubbock from playing the timely song which, according to the children’s grandmother, Connie Sisneros, “describes the events of Sept. 11 in a powerful way with a message of hope and love.”
To illustrate the cover for the CD, the band got help from the Portales Police Department and Portales Fire Department. Both provided vehicles to photograph on the Sept. 11 CD cover.
Even after Thursday — the second anniversary of the attacks on America — radio stations, including Radio Que Suave in Santa Fe, plan to keep playing the song.
“We played the song on Que Suave … and got really good response,” said Anthony Gonzales, program director for the 810 AM dial station. Gonzales said Radio Que Suave covers 85 percent of New Mexico as well as parts of Southern Colorado.
“We got some calls and people found it hard to believe how young the kids are. You don’t see that many kids involved in music at that age,” Gonzales said. “What makes it even better is the type of music they are doing. Most young bands are into hip-hop or rap and these kids are doing religious and patriotic songs.”
Sisneros said radio stations have been asking when Falan y La Juventud will complete a full CD. Sisneros said that project, which will be a selection of English religious and romantic songs, is in the works. However, he said it will take some time, particularly with his grandchildrens’ busy schedules.
Falan y La Juventud began singing for masses at St. Helen Catholic Church this past year and has been given the name The Fourth Generation of Faith by Father Tobin Hitt, pastor of St. Helen’s. The children’s family, the Sisneroses, have performed at churches for four generations, going back to their grandfather’s father. The children’s parents recorded several religious CDs during the 1980s.
Falan said the band was born out of a desire to follow in the footsteps of parents.
“We had heard our parents sing at mass and one day we told our grandfather we wanted to sing and play instruments at church like them,” Falan said.
Their grandfather then took them to his music room, which still has equipment from his former recording studio, Consuelo Records, and a radio station that he once operated from his home. Since then, the children try to set aside a block of time each week to rehearse.
As for Falan, who aspires to become a pediatrician, the regional success of their debut release makes her want to put even more effort in the music group.
“With the response we’re getting, it makes me more eager to want to finish the CD,” Falan said. “I didn’t think it would happen this fast, with radio stations calling and saying ‘please send us the full CD.’”