By Sergio “Checo” Alonso
Special to the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol
Although Mexico has lost the last of its iconic ranchera singers, Vicente Fernandez’s legacy will live on among the people.
His memory will endure as a cultural icon that spoke to the sensibilities of “El Pueblo Mexicano.” Countless fans in Mexico, the United States, and throughout Latin America will continue to find meaning in his music in ways that transcend the music itself.
Chente is widely respected among mariachi musicians for championing “El Charro Mexicano” throughout his entire career. He never succumbed to the cultural winds of change that often influence other popular singers.
Chente was the quintessential ranchera artist who not only mirrored the mariachi tradition but helped shape it. Like other ranchera legends before him, Chente positioned mariachi music as Mexico’s contribution to the global musical landscape. Unlike other icons, he did this while challenging the popular trends that threatened mariachi music.
Countless lives and livelihoods within mariachi spheres are indebted to Fernandez’s contributions to the art form.
My experience with the Fernandez family is via Alejandro. I had the pleasure of participating in the recording of “Agridulce.”I am honored to have worked with such an influential family and to have been a part of the Fernandez musical legacy.
As an American-born mariachi musician representing Mexican music-culture on this side of the border, the experience takes on a special meaning.
Artist, educator and scholar Sergio “Checo” Alonso is a committed advocate for the preservation and dissemination of traditional Mexican music.