The Unsinkable Becky Cordova
SFV's Diamond of the Valley continues to defy the odds singing, recording, and bringing joy to adoring audiences
Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Friday night ... I'm sitting in an audience of enthusiastic music lovers at a favorite local spot in Northridge,California, just north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley munching some fresh warm chips & salsa, having a cool drink with a couple of friends, and the first word that comes to mind as the band strikes up.... WOW !
Published on LatinoLA: May 12, 2014
Not that I'm surprised & pleasantly enthralled because I'm joining people as we enjoy one of San Fernando Valley's most improved and popular bands of the moment, BOBBY MARTINEZ & The BROTHERHOOD BAND, which has become one of my favorites...
..I'm surprised & pleasantly enthralled because of the beautiful Lady lead singer, who is a 3-time cancer survivor, survivor of three major surgeries, countless chemotherapy sessions, and procedures to have her lungs drained ... is now up on stage and belting out a hot dance number with so much energy & verve that she has the dance floor packed...and she's out there singing like a happy teenager with no worries!
My friend, singer BECKY CORDOVA, has become the inspirational poster child for hope & survival for anyone who ever had to deal with the curse of cancer.
Having lost beloved family members and friends to cancer, I have to say, sometimes Becky can bring a lump to my throat, and make my eyes water with pride when she performs a sultry Oldie but Goodie, like "At Last", or one of her signature dance tunes like "Everybody, Everybody", because I know she's in some pain, but she just refuses to be knocked down, and she's fighting like a warrior princess that she is with every note she sings.
Definitely an inspiration to all that know her, and I'm one of the lucky people who can say I do!
And beaming right alongside of her is her husband & master keyboardist Ray Cordova , and the talented guys of the popular Brotherhood Band, a group of veteran music artists headed by Bobby Martinez, that rock the Valley & L.A. area with Becky and make things happen.
Having traveled, performed and recorded with many different artists around the country for more than 35 years, Ray tells LatinoLA that retirement from music "might be an idea", but he only continues to play because. "..it makes Becky happy and keeps her going ever since she quit her regular job when she became sick. I am so proud of her. After watching her perform, people have a hard time believing she has Stage IV cancer, and goes to regular chemotherapy. She has this infectious love of music that keeps ME going when I'm feeling bad for her...music is one of the best drugs I know of....we share it!"
To add more "wow" to the matter, this is just one of Becky's music groups she performs with, along with occasional guest spots throughout the Land of 1000 Dances.
When not in the L.A. area, Becky also performs up north with the celebrated "Soul Man de Santa Barbara" himself, PEPE MARQUEZ & his Grooveline and Latin Soul Revue Bands.
" I've had the pleasure of singing & performing alongside Becky & Ray Cordova for the past 6 or 7 years," Pepe tells LatinoLA. "And I am always impressed with Lady Cordova. She may have her ups & downs with her condition, and there's times where I'm worried about her being able to perform a full show just before we go on...but once she gets up on stage, all that disappears and she lights up and comes to life like the professional she is. Her voice is still a strong as ever once she gets up on stage. She impresses & inspires all of us!"
I fondly remember a night some years back where I convinced East L.A. music legends George Salazar & Benny Lopez , original members of THEE MIDNITERS who recorded on the immortal Whittier Boulevard album, to come down and hear Becky sing as she had recently recorded a cover of a Midniter classic "Giving Up On Love."
I introduced Becky to both Benny & George, and Becky confided in me that she was "a little nervous with THOSE guys sitting down in front."
She was so nervous in fact, that when she performed "Giving Up On Love" she grabbed a cordless microphone, walked off stage in mid-song, and walked right up to Benny & George's table and crooned the rest of the song right in their faces! ( I think Benny Lopez actually blushed!)
Besides the loud ovation from the crowd for a memorable performance (one of those WOW moments), Benny Lopez had the biggest smile of appreciation when Becky gave the original Midniters props ... and George Salazar says to me, "I'M IN LOVE!!! She sounds better than us!"... a bigger compliment you couldn't get!
...just one of those Becky moments I will always remember.
In between sets, I get a chance to chat with Becky for a moment during a break. Ever so humble and approachable, I still get goosebumps when she gives me that million dollar smile and a warm hug, as she says "Hey, Frankie, what's going on?"
I met Becky a little over 11 years ago when she was the lead singer for another popular San Fernando Valley group, The COMPANY BAND, traveling and recording 2 CD's with them, and having recorded with the likes of Ray Carrion, the late Issac Avila, and Sal Rodriguez....at the time she was also driving a cement truck full-time.
She laughs when we talk about that, because so many people have a hard time believing this talented lady drove a big truck when she wasn't singing on a stage. She continues to sing, travel, and enjoy music as much, if not more now, since contracting cancer.
"Sure...I have my good days and my bad days...having cancer sucks! And I probably wouldn't have survived this far without the love & support of my husband Ray...but I can't give up and stop the fight. Too many people have shown me love and given me support...I am always so humbled whenever a fan comes up to me and tells me I'm an inspiration, or that that they came to a show just to see me sing...how can I let people like that down?"
Having sung professionally for more than 17 years, Becky continues to enjoy the love of music and people that she credits with having helped her get past some difficult moments in life that would have led other people to simply give up ... and that's one of the biggest reasons I say & think "WOW!" whenever I see her.
....She's being called back on stage now after the break...
....so she gives me another big crackerjack smile, and comfortably tells me "Hell, Frankie...everybody's time is coming....mine maybe a little sooner....but I ain't rushing it, and I'm not giving up! Screw that! I gotta sing!...c'mon, let's go back to the party!"
...and with that, I take my seat back in in the audience as Becky Cordova, the "Diamond of the Valley", comfortably goes back on stage and easily belts out a hard hitting dance tune that fills the dance floor...
...and I sit there....thinking "Wow!"....
Author's note: Becky & Ray Cordova will be performing with Pepe Marquez at the Santa Barbara Festival July 31st, and August 1st & 2nd. Becky continues performing with Bobby Martinez & The Brotherhood Band. Look them up on Facebook.
Photo from Becky Cordova's Facebook Page
Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone & Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul, heard daily on World wide Internet Radio station www.eastLArevue.com
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