In the mid- to late 2000s, Diana Reyes redefined herself as "La Reina del Pasito Duranguense" -- that is, the Queen of Duranguense Music. It was an effective marketing strategy that paid off handsomely for the Mexican singer; marketing herself as a female solo artist in an historically male-dominated type of regional Mexican music, Reyes filled a void and enjoyed major hits such as "El Sol No Regresa" ("The Sun Doesn't Return") and "Como una Mariposa" ("Like a Butterfly"). Switching to duranguense gave Reyes a boost commercially, but it's important to remember that she had a recording career before making duranguense her primary focus -- and Grandes Exitos looks back on Reyes' pre-duranguense years with pleasing results. There isn't a trace of duranguense to be found on this 55-minute best-of collection, which Machete Music assembled in 2008. All 18 of the selections, which were recorded in the '90s and early 2000s, are norteño -- and Reyes is enjoyably convincing as a norteño vocalist on tracks like "Besos y Copas" ("Kisses and Drinks"), "Yo Quiero Divertirme" ("I Want to Have Fun"), "La Silla Vacía" ("The Empty Chair"), and "La Taza de Café" ("The Cup of Coffee"). Equally appealing is "Celosa," which should not be confused with Reyes' duranguense smash "Celos": in Spanish, "celosa" (or "celoso" if you're describing a male) means "jealous," while "celos" means "jealousy." Some norteño fans have lamented her decision to take the duranguense plunge, but from a marketing standpoint, there is no question that the switch really made Reyes stand out in the regional Mexican market. Nonetheless, Grandes Exitos demonstrates that Reyes was making worthwhile contributions to regional Mexican music before she became La Reina del Pasito Duranguense, and it is the most logical starting point if one is exploring her norteño output for the first time. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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