By Lisa Morton
Local musical talent, David Santana, will now be known as “VeVe Santana”, a nickname given to him by his mother at childhood. VeVe recently recorded a CD dedicated to his mother, Jacinta Rodriguez Santana, with the title song “Te Extraño Mama”, or “I miss you Mom.”
“I have always wanted to record a CD dedicated to my mother who has since passed,” said Veve. “She was my number one fan,” he added.
VeVe came from a family with at least one member being a talented singer in each generation. In his case, it was his grandfather and his father before him. He naturally expected his father would take an interest in his singing as it developed, but his mother was the one who passed on his father’s advice. That advice was that he not imitate other singers but sing the songs in his own style. He was told that music was in him since birth and he remembers being put to sleep with music playing.
When David Santana was still in High School in Laredo, Texas, he became a well-known member of the Martin High School Mariachi Band which placed first in the UIL competition in 1983. At only 12 years old, he won a talent show in Colorado singing “La Bamba”, the famous late Richie Valens song of the 1950s. David was also 1st chair trumpet player in Band and plays the guitar as well.
The apple, or apples in this case, haven’t fallen far from the family tree, with two daughters inheriting the music gene. Erika Santana is a vocalist for the Austin-based Tejano band “Canonazo,” and was nominated in the “Best New Artist” category for the 2016 Tejano Music Awards Another daughter, Victoria Esperanza Santana, will get her degree in music and graduate as a music major within the next year.
When VeVe first came to Van Horn, he began working construction at the Plateau Truck Stop. He soon found himself operating the restaurant at the truck stop, calling it “Lindsey’s” after his youngest daughter. This brought him to Van Horn where he has settled into the old Sand’s Restaurant at the east end of Van Horn, cooking for locals and travelers for the past 7 years.
Local Tex-Mex Band, “Los Pecadores” soon discovered Santana’s singing talent, and quickly signed him up to perform gigs in Van Horn and West Texas. At 55-years-old, Veve decided to take the leap to record his music and collaborated with Antonio “Tony” Hernandez Lozano on the arrangements for his CD. He recorded 10 original songs and 3 non-original songs on the CD he now sells in his restaurant and on social media. He gives credit to another contributor, his friend Efren Rodriguez, who also helped him with the CD.
The CD is a mix of his favorite songs from the last 35 years and includes his rendition of “The Chair” by country legend George Strait, the only English song on the list. The take is sentimental and includes upbeat songs like “Cowboy Cumbia” among others. Look for VeVe Santana on Facebook soon to request his new CD. VeVe has had rave reviews from patrons in his restaurant in Van Horn, even scoring requests to record in Juarez and Nashville. VeVe Santana may soon be a household name in the music industry, and Van Horn can proudly say, “we knew him when”.