It’s no secret why 31-year old Mexican vocalist Alejandro Fernandez is rapidly on his way to becoming the most respected Latin singer of his generation. Television audiences who viewed his mesmerizing performance on the 2002 Latin Grammy Awards broadcast were captivated by his chiseled good looks, his natural yet commanding charisma, and, most of all, a powerful voice and sensitive interpretative skills that make him truly one of a kind.

The release of Un Canto de Mexico: 100 Años de Musica Mexicana (A Song of Mexico: 100 Years of Mexican Music), a live two CD set on Sony Discos, solidifies his growing reputation and promises to expand his fan base even further. Recorded in Mexico City’s historic opera house, the Palace of Fine Arts, the program is a perfect fit for the young Fernandez, whose rich voice is capable of capturing a range of vocal styles that extend from operatic formality to seductive romantic pop.

Fernandez seems destined to ascend to the highest levels of popular stardom in the Spanish speaking world. He’s the son of Vicente Fernandez, Mexico’s beloved King of ranchera music. Growing up in a home where traditional Mexican values were at the core of everyday life, Alejandro learned to love the same traditions that shaped his father’s remarkable career – a deep affection for Mexico’s country people, their ways, and their music. It is fitting that he was born (April 24, 1971) in Guadalajara, the most important center of Mexico’s mariachi tradition. He quickly followed in his legendary father’s footsteps, performing with Vicente the first time before an audience of 10,000 when he was only five years of age. Roles in Mexican movies followed a year later, then an opportunity to join his father as a full-fledged participant on an album tribute to Mexican music.

In 1991, his self-titled debut as a solo artist appeared on Sony Discos, followed through the decade by a succession of increasingly popular releases that quickly established him as one of Latin America’s most promising young vocalists. Albums like Dentro De Mi Corazon (Deep in My Heart), Me Estoy Enamorando (I’m Falling In Love), Mi Verdad (My Truth), Entre Tus Brazos(In Your Arms) and Origenes (Origins) enjoyed great popular and critical success, often producing singles that commanded Billboard Magazine Top #1 and Top 10 chart positions. Platinum and gold sales levels have accompanied most of his releases in the U.S., Mexico, and such Latin American markets as Venezuela, Ecuador and Central America. And Fernandez’s stature as one of the leading Latin recording artists of his generation was underscored by collaborations with such industry trend-setters as producers Emilio Estefan Jr. and Kike Santander and vocal partnerships with such stars as Placido Domingo, Patricia Kaas and Gloria Estefan.

Year 2002 brought Fernandez’s most impressive recording to date, the historic and passionately interpreted Un Canto de Mexico. The program is an ambitious survey of the best of Mexico’s popular music of the last century andcaptures the flavor of the country’s many distinctive regional styles and the creativity of its world class composers. The Mexican Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by maestro Eduardo Magallanes, and several other classical ensembles back Fernandez as he conducts a magical aural tour of his land’s most compelling music, from rustic folk music to classically inspired fare.

Included are ballads from the era of revolutionary hero Pancho Villa and the mariachi and ranchera-rooted songs that reveal the traditional values of Mexico’s rural masses. Classic fare by such legendary composers as Armando Manzanero, Maria Grever and Manuel Ponce are program highlights, as are medleys (popurris) devoted to such beloved Mexican boleros as “Perfidia” and “Reloj” and songs made famous by the singer’s father. Medley surveys of compositions by two of the country’s greatest composers, Agustin Lara, Mexico’s George Gershwin, and Juan Gabriel, an enormously influential composer who came into vogue in the 1970s, round out the panoramic program. Throughout the program, the performances reflect the rich cultural characteristics that have made Mexico’s popular music one of the most diverse and distinctive in the world.

Fernandez has managed to seduce some of the country’s toughest critics with his emotion-packed performances. Billboard Magazine cites him as a “very impressive, distinctive singer with a superlative sensitive of interpretation.” The Chicago Sun Times trumpets his vocal prowess as having the “skill of a Pavarotti.”

With talent to burn, it’s clear that Alejandro Fernandez will be a dominant force in Latin American popular culture for decades to come. As his deeply reverent, artistically commanding performances on Un Canto de Mexico attest, Alejandro Fernandez is drawn to challenging and grandiose projects that are equal to the deep reserve of talent with which he is blessed.