In Mexico, the death of Vicente Fernandez, idol of popular song, upsets the country

Vicente Fernandez is dead, and a whole country is in mourning. Mexico mourns its king of popular song, star of mariachi orchestras, who died Sunday, December 12, the day of the pilgrimage to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of the country.

The sombreros and romance crooner who rocked party nights and generations of broken hearts from Mexico to Argentina has died at 81 in a hospital in Guadalajara, the country’s second largest city, his family have said on Instagram.

The absolute master of the “rancheras”, songs about the torments of love, with several guitars and inevitable trumpets, had been hospitalized since a fall in early August in his ranch near Guadalajara, capital of the state of Jalisco, cradle of tequila and stronghold of the most dangerous active drug cartel.

A kidnapped son

Ahead of the funeral – which is to be held privately on Monday – the family opened up the singer’s ranch for the public to pay tribute to him. About 7,000 admirers marched past his coffin, on which rested his sombrero.

The sentimental and macho interpreter assumed to By your damn love (“For your cursed love”) and very bittersweet That it goes beautiful to you (“I wish you the best”) has sold 70 million records in a fifty-year career spanning three Grammys and nine Latin Grammys.

Musicians pay homage to Vicente Fermandez outside his ranch near Guadalajara, Mexico, on the day of his death, December 12, 2021.

Emblem of a Mexico all in shadows and lights, refined and violent, “Chente” experienced the tragedy of his life during a tour in 1998 when his son Vicente Fernandez Jr. was kidnapped for one hundred and twenty-one days with a request to $ 10 million ransom from a criminal gang who cut off two fingers.

One of his other sons would have been the friend of a capo of the Sinaloa cartel, according to the Argentinian journalist Olga Wornat who has just published a biography not authorized by the family, The last king (“The last king”).

Even Joe Biden tweeted

With his boots, sideburns, thick eyebrows and mustache, the “Sinatra of music ranchera” – as the American newspaper has dubbed him. Houston Chronicle in 1991 – hated fiercely one of his rivals who died in 2016, Juan Gabriel, « because he was gay and that Chente was a man from another era », adds Olga Wornat.

Very symbolically, Fernandez bows out on the day when tens of thousands of pilgrims converge on the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, a source of inspiration for mariachi orchestras. And the day a Guadalajara football club, Atlas, won their first league title in seventy years. A tribute was paid by the crowd who observed a minute of silence and sang Return Return, another success of the singer.

Among other multiple reactions, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador greeted a « symbol of music will ranch of our time, known and recognized in Mexico and abroad ». Colombian Head of State Ivan Duque paid tribute to « a true genius of folklore and music from our region » and US President Joe Biden hailed a “Icon” : “Vicente Fernandez’s music has created memories for millions of people”, he tweeted.

The World with AFP

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In Mexico, the death of Vicente Fernandez, idol of popular song, upsets the country