I join Nezua in honoring the life and cultural legacy of El Charro de Mexico, Señor Antonio Aguilar. He moved on from this life earlier in the week due to complications with pneumonia.
A highly accomplished singer, songwriter, actor and handler of horses - Sr. Aguilar is a true legend that has influenced the very identity of Mexico so strongly that his spirit will live on forever.
Jose Hernandez, director of the Mariachi Sol de Mexico, recalled working with Aguilar as a teenager during shows in Los Angeles. The young apprentice annotated the old unwritten corridos, writing notes as Aguilar hummed the musical introductions.As a child, I always sat in awe watching his horses dance to the beautiful sounds of the mariachi as its rider belted out the stories and histories of my ancestors. When my nana passed away in the mid-80s, I inherited all of her vinyl records - Antonio Aguilar being among the treasured collection.
"He was an incredible man, very special," Hernandez said Wednesday from his Cielito Lindo Restaurant in South El Monte. "And he was so respectful of this country. He would tell all his crew, and all his musicians, 'We're going to the U.S. so we must be on our best behavior. We want the Americans to see what the true Mexico is all about, and that our culture is beautiful.' "
Serendipitously, I was listening to a CD version of his Grandes Exitos this week prior to learning of his death. They are going to stay in my listening rotation for a while now.