When a Rio Grande Valley hip-hop station recently switched to a Spanish-language Recuerdos format, they christened their new incarnation with a song by Vicente Fernandez.
Considering that the station’s target demographic extends from ages 25 to 54, Fernandez made for an appropriate choice. The reigning king of the rancheras, the Jalisco-born Fernandez cuts across generational lines and musical tastes in a way that few Mexican musical figures have. When he emerged in the early 1960s as a radio fixture who fronted various mariachis, he seemed to be an Old World throwback, a preserver of rural folk traditions at a time when his generation was beginning to absorb the influence of rock ’n’ roll.
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Vicente Fernandez & Ana Barbara
Fri, Oct 28
3201 E. Houston
Blessed with a floridly emotional, unbashedly romantic delivery, the 65-year-old Fernandez created a larger-than-life persona which has carried him through more than 60 albums and a string of films that includes El Arracadas and Tacos Al Carbon. In much the same way that Frank Sinatra could take an oft-recorded standard and subsequently make you think of it as a Sinatra song, when Fernandez wrapped his pipes around classic tear-jerkers such as “Volver, Volver,” all other interpretations generally sounded like mere footnotes.
These days he’s recognized as a venerable elder statesmen with sons who have established singing careers of their own. But he refuses to quietly fade away, hitting the road with a sound that will never go out of style as long as he’s around to do it. •