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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Vicente Fernandez knew his way around your broken heart

After four years of dating, Art Castillo came to this: He sat alone in his blue truck in Waco, Texas, listening to his girlfriend over the speaker. She told him that long distance calls were not working. She found another man. The relationship is over.

“I hung up and put on Vicente Fernandez,” said 30-year-old Mr. Castillo. He played “La Cruz de Tu Olvido” in which Mr. Fernandez roars: “When I looked at the evil in your eyes, I realized that you never loved me.” He played louder, over and over, until he stopped crying.

“With his songs,” said Mr. Castillo, “you just feel it inside yourself.”

For generations, Mr. Fernandez’s often sad songs have served as a balm for the grief-stricken. Over the course of his sixty-year career, Mr. Fernandez, a Mexican rancher superstar who passed away on Sunday at age 81, has recorded hundreds of songs and dozens of albums filled with unrequited love, contemptuous partners, and tarnished romances.

During this time, Mr. Fernandez, known to millions of people as Cente, became a beacon for the broken hearted, a man to listen to when love went awry and all you need – apart from maybe a little tequila – are brave guitars, harmonious French horns and someone to express your deepest feelings.

“For many people of Mexican descent, his voice is native,” said Rachel Yvonne Cruz, professor of Mexican American studies and music specialist at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

That explains why so many people, mostly Hispanics, turn to him when they feel bad, she said.

“When Vicente Fernandez sang, he expressed all the emotions that we hold inside: this silent scream, this silent cry that happens when you are heartbroken, when you just can’t do it anymore,” said Dr. Cruz. “And when you listened to him, you were able to receive the liberation that you needed.”

Who broke Mr. Fernandez’s heart? This remains a mystery to his fans. He married Maria del Refugio Abarca Villasegnor when he was in his early 20s, and they remained together until his death.

But be that as it may, whenever his heart occurs, fans say that his suffering manifested itself in his lyrics.

Tu boca, tu ojos y tu pelo

Los llevo en mi mente, noche y día

“Your mouth, your eyes and your hair, I wear them in memory day and night,” sings Mr. Fernandez in Las Llaves de Mi Alma.

Por tu maldito amor

No puedo terminar con tantas penas

“Because of your damned love, I cannot end this shame,” he growls in Por Tu Maldito Amor.

En un marco, pondré tu retrato

Y en mi mano, otra copa de vino

“I will frame your portrait and another glass of wine in my hand,” he hums in Tu Camino y el Mío.

This song helped Fernanda Aguilera.

“I’ve been with someone, probably since high school, and then you think, ‘Well, that’s going to be my identity,” said 27-year-old Ms. Aguilera from San Antonio. But when college came and went their separate ways, she realized that this relationship “was just an illusion in my head.”

She played “Tu Camino y el Mío” (“Your road and mine”) and remembered thinking: “That’s exactly what I feel, but I just couldn’t find the words. And it was like he put words together for me. “

On a cold March night in Oxnard, California, heartbroken Jaime Tapia grabbed a beer, invited a friend over to his house, and played Vicente Fernandez’s playlist. Mr Tapia was 19 years old. He and his four-year-old girlfriend decided to end their relationship earlier that night.

Reflecting how Mr. Fernandez dealt with the pain in the movies (mostly with alcohol, somber gaze, and friends reassuring him that he would be okay), Mr. Tapia and his friend continued to serve beer. while they were sitting. the hoods of their cars.

“I just fall asleep looking at the stars,” he said. For the first time in his life he was alone and drunk.

“A lot of the songs Shente talks about are about breakups, cantina and the like,” said Mr Tapia. “So even if you were sad at the time, you felt good that you were connected with a friend and that you were not alone.”

Rancher’s music “can be seen as celebrating the most genuine emotion,” said Monica Vogelquist, professor of mariachi practice and ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin.

“In Mexican culture, men are supposed to be strong, courageous, proud and devoid of any feelings,” she said. “They don’t cry or express their vulnerability, including heartache. However, through music, all unexpressed or forbidden emotions can freely come out. “

People used Chente’s romantic tunes to try to win back their estranged partner through serenates, a musical message of love delivered by a mariachi group in front of a lover’s window – a tradition that Mr. Fernandez popularized in films.

“It’s pretty popular; we were hired a couple of times to help bring this man back, ”said Giovanni Garcia, Group Manager of Mariachi Estrellas de Chicago. He added: “A couple of times we were told:” Oh, I’m in the kennel now and I hope this will help me. “

“It works sometimes,” he said. This is often not the case – even if the band is playing one of Mr. Fernandez’s songs.

Someone tried it once on Laura Figueroa. It didn’t end well.

A group of mariachi knocked on her door in Chicago. Her younger brother let them in, and the musicians went through the kitchen to her bedroom. She was then 22 years old.

“I sit there and stare at the floor: ‘Oh my God, there is literally mariachi in my house,’ said 39-year-old Figueroa. She doesn’t believe the band was playing Chente, and she didn’t take her former lover back anyway.

Jesús Gutierrez, 37, from Chicago, said his father sang Mr. Fernandez’s “Hermoso Cariño” (Lovely Sweetheart) to his mother Juana when they met in Guanajuato, Mexico. Mr. Gutierrez said that she used to be embarrassed when she told this story because his father, Nicholas, was a “bad singer.”

But it may have worked, he said, because they got married, had children, and listened to rancher music for decades. She kept nearly all of her Chente vinyls and shouted every word of his heartbreaking songs at his concerts, her son recalled.

In 2019, Juana Gutierrez died, and Chente’s songs became a new kind of grief for Mr. Gutierrez. He said he could no longer play some of his mother’s favorites because “it’s too much.”

But on Sunday, when he heard about the death of Mr. Fernandez, he immediately knew how he would spend his evening: just as he and many others experienced their first breakups and last goodbyes.

He flipped through his playlist until he found “Hermoso Cariño”.

Precioso regalo

Del cielo ha llegado

Y que me ha colmado de dicha y amor

“A precious gift, it came from heaven,” sang Fernandez. “And it filled me with happiness and love.”

World Nation News Desk
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