Vicente Fernández

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Vicente Fernández, King of Mexican Music, Caps 40th Anniversary With Release of “Para Siempre”;

79th CD is First Collaboration with Joan Sebastian, Poet of the Pueblo

Associated Press: “ One of those rare folks who lives up to the ‘living legend’ label” The September 25th release of Mexican icon Vicente Fernández’s album Para Siempre (Forever) (SonyBMG Norte) is the culmination of the 2007 anniversary celebration of the legend’s forty year-career in music. The interpreter of mega-hits that have become contemporary classics in the Latin music songbook returns with a fresh approach to his trademark ranchera ballads, demonstrating, once again, that Fernández is an artist for all time.

For four decades, Vicente (Vee_SENT-ay) Fernández, the world’s greatest living ranchera singer, has personified the music, and, indeed, the soul of Mexico. With over 70 recordings to his credit, Fernández is to Mexico what Frank Sinatra or Johnny Cash is to the U.S. he has sold over 50 million CDs, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2003 was named the recipient of the Latin Grammys’ prestigious Legend Award. His is the voice of the people, crooning the sweet and tough music born in the Mexican plains, the songs of cowboys, ranchers, and the harshness of frontier life. Love gained and lost, justice sought and thwarted, dreams big and small are Vicente Fernández’s common themes.

Para Siempre is Fernández’s first collaboration with singer-songwriter Joan (ZHO-an) Sebastian, known in Mexico as El Poeta del Pueblo (the People's Poet). As the Chicago Sun-Times recently noted, Sebastian specializes in “a common man’s tales of self-sacrifice and redemption.” He has become one of Latin music’s biggest stars and producers, with three Grammys, five Latin Grammys and top 40 hits on the Latin charts.

On Para Siempre, Fernandez performs twelve of Sebastian’s finely-crafted songs, poetic observations on love and life. “Esto Celos” (“This Jealousy”), the album’s first single, brings personal experience to an eternal theme. “El Chofer,” (The Driver) another highlight of the CD, will surely become an anthem for Mexico’s truckers. The song details a truck driver’s long night on the country’s endless highways, traveling the road from Tijuana to Yucatan and beyond.

The song, like all the tracks on Para Siempre, covers new ground in the singer’s long journey as a performer. While upholding the tradition, Fernández embraces ranchera’s musical evolution, demonstrating the reason why he maintains his popularity among audiences of all ages.

2008 U.S. TOUR
11-Jul :: Phoenix, AZ :: US Airways Center
12-Jul :: Albuquerque, NM :: Journal Pavillion
3-Oct :: Atlanta, GA :: Gwinnett Arena
4-Oct :: New York, NY :: Madison Square Garden
18-Oct :: Miami, FL :: American Airlines Arena
19-Oct :: Chicago, IL :: Allstate Arena
24-Oct :: Dallas, TX :: American Airlines Center
26-Oct :: Houston, TX :: Toyota Center
7-Nov :: Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
8-Nov :: Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
9-Nov :: Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
14-Nov :: Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
15-Nov :: Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
16-Nov :: Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
21-Nov :: Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
22-Nov :: Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
23-Nov :: Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City

Newcomers to Fernandez’s music can follow his incredible career on the artist’s stellar box set The Living Legend (SonyBMG Norte 2006), which features full liner notes in Spanish and English and three discs of Chente’s favorite performances. The collection was Fernández’s first to celebrate a growing English-language audience for a singer already beloved throughout Latin America.

A collection of his biggest radio hits can be found on Historia de un Idolo vol. 1 (Story of an Idol). Reissued in the US in March 2007 to celebrate Fernández’s 40th anniversary of performing, it includes Fernández classics such as “Lástima que seas ajena” (Pity You Belong to Another) and “Que de raro tiene” (What’s so Strange about It?) exemplify Fernández’s way with a ranchera, the country ballad of Mexico.

La Tragedia del Vaquero (The Cowboy’s Tragedy) Fernández’s previous studio album, features as the title track and single, a corrido or story-song rooted in Mexican border music. His performance is electrifying from an artist who has set a standard for masculinity as well as musicality: the song’s tragedy is actually a critique of “macho” behavior. Equally topical is “Lejos de mi tierra” (“Far from Home”), his first song to tackle Mexican immigration.

Fernández’s live shows are in themselves legendary. El Rey de las Rancheras (The King of Ranchera) has played some of the biggest venues in the U.S., and toured not only in Hispanic strongholds such as Los Angeles and Texas, but also in Arkansas and Minneapolis. Hundreds of thousands flock to performances by a 68-year old whose ever-expanding box offices successes north of the border have brought him the attention of the U.S. mainstream press.

A typical performance lasts three hours, with the singer displaying the discipline, charisma, and sheer physical stamina that brought him from rags to riches. Bedecked in his time-honored mariachi finery, the traje de charro (the iconic wide sombrero and ceremonial sidearm that proclaim him a proud son of Huentitán el Alto, Jalisco), Fernández is backed by an orchestra of traditional musicians – trumpets, strings, guitar and the bass guitarrón. But the huge sound of his ensemble is no match for The Voice, big and wide as the Mexican plains, with a sweetness that belies its brawn and defies its age.

In Mexico, Fernández is known simply as Chente, a diminutive of Vicente, or El Charro de Huentitán (the Charro of Huentitán), after his birthplace. Vicente Fernández is also often called, simply, “El Número Uno.”

Forty years on, all of Vicente Fernández’s idols, the great Mexican singers Javier Solis, Jorge Negrete, and Pedro Infante, are gone. Only Chente remains, the proud gallo (fighting rooster) of Mexican music. Though his musical dynasty continues with his son, pop/ranchera star Alejandro Fernández (who recently recorded a duet with Beyoncé), no one represents the musical spirit of Mexico like “El Rey.”

Vicente Fernández feature on NPR’s All Things Considered (June 2007):


"The Living Legend" Celebrates Mexican Ranchera King Vicente Fernández;

First Box Set for Singer Marks 50 Million CD’s sold.
Collection Reflects Artist’s “Personal Best” from Four-Decade Career

Legend Continues with 40th Anniversary U.S. Tour

The Houston Chronicle: “The Sinatra of ranchera music”

New York Times: “With his dramatic tenor voice and his wall-shaking vibrato, Fernández brings out all the melodrama of Mexican ranchera songs”

Vibe: “Fernández has timeless star power, a potent, evergreen voice that’s inspired decades of imitators, and the onstage chops of a revolutionary showman”

Los Angeles Times: “A voice that ranks as a natural wonder”

2007 U.S. TOUR
Sat May 12 San Francisco, CA :: Cow Palace
Sun May 13 Stockton, CA :: Stockton Arena
Sat May 26 Fresno, CA :: Selland Arena
Sun May 27 Reno, NV :: Reno Event Center
Thurs June 7 Highland, CA :: San Manuel Indian Casino
Sat June 9 San Diego, CA :: Coors Amphitheatre
Sat June 16 Minneapolis, MN :: TBA
Sun June 17 Kansas City, MO :: TBA
Sat June 30 Portland, OR :: Rose Garden
Sun July 1 Tacoma, WA :: Tacoma Dome
Fri Oct 12 McAllen, TX :: Dodge Arena
Sat Oct 13 San Antonio, TX :: Freeman Coliseum
Sun Oct 14 El Paso, TX :: UTEP
Sat Oct 20 Atlanta, GA :: Gwinnett Arena
Sun Oct 21 Chicago, IL :: Allstate Arena
Thurs Nov 1 Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
Fri Nov 2 Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
Sat Nov 3 Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
Sun Nov 4 Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
Thurs Nov 8 Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
Fri Nov 9 Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
Sat Nov 10 Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
Sun Nov 11 Los Angeles, CA :: Gibson Amph., Universal City
Fri Nov 23 San Jose, CA :: HP Pavilion
Sat Nov 24 Las Vegas, NV :: Mandalay Bay

What if no one outside of Hoboken ever heard Frank Sinatra? Or if Johnny Cash’s 45’s never made it out of Sun Studios? Imagine if only a select few heard the music of Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger or Roy Orbison, music so quintessentially American that pop icons like Bruce Springsteen turn to it regularly for inspiration.

For Mexicans, and Mexican-Americans, the man who represents all those things – Cash, Sinatra, Guthrie, even Springsteen – is Vicente Fernández. Even young West Coast reggaeton rappers have shown their respect, borrowing from his classics. With nearly 100 releases to his credit, the singer’s work has never been targeted to a bilingual audience. Until now. A lavish three-disc box set, with songs personally selected by the singer, preserves the music of this icon for generations on both sides of the border -- with notes in English and Spanish. If you’re a newcomer to Latin music, or to Mexican music, or among the millions of second-, third-, and fourth-generation American Latinos whose primary language is English, this is the ideal place to meet The Living Legend.

“Legend” because in his 40-year career he has sold over 50 million records, appeared in dozens of feature films, and netted copious awards. “Living” because he is: You can see Vicente Fernández on tour, throughout Latin America and the U.S., in a spectacle reserved for immortals like Plácido Domingo (a huge fan, by the way) and approaching the marathon length and emotional pitch of a classic Springsteen show (The Boss is another fan, by the way; he has mariachis play his birthday parties). At age 67, Vicente Fernández is the last and the greatest at what he does – the king of ranchera, the heart of Mexican music (which, incidentally, far outsells every other Latin genre, even in the U.S.).

The immense sombrero, the coal-black mustache – these are the reductio ad absurdum of ranchera, the rawhide-and-spit horse-opera music of Mexico and really all of the Southern Hemisphere. But don’t let the clichés distract you. This music, tragic and sweet, is the music of the working man, the salt of the earth. As with flamenco, its musical cousin, behind ranchera’s melodrama looms loss, pride, honor and existential grief. And few are those who can stare down that abyss. For over 40 years, Fernández has. Like his story and his incredible voice, Vicente Fernández is larger than life.

A movie idol and recording star since 1966, Fernández has lived the intensely dramatic tales he sings. Born in the heartland of ranchera, the western state of Jalisco, Fernández dreamed of being a mariachi singer. His fifth-grade education never held him back, and sheer tenacity – and a rolling baritone as wide as the Mexican plains – brought him at first local then regional and national fame. With powerhouse performances that fearlessly wrung every last emotion from songs such as his international hit “Volver, Volver,” Fernández made his mark.

But like the songs he sings, each triumph seemed matched with pain: in 1970, the tear-drenched performance at Mexico City’s historic Teatro Blanquita, only moments after learning of his father’s death. And in 1998, the same year that he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, his eldest son (Vicente Jr.) was kidnapped and held four months for ransom, losing two fingers before he was released. Yet he continued to encourage his youngest son’s show business ambitions, and now Alejandro Fernandez is a chart-topping Mexican star in his own right.

Walking the bitter roads of which he sings, always in touch with the profound elemental tumult of love and loss, is what has kept Vicente Fernández the idol of millions for over four decades. He is beloved for his strength, his honesty, and his ongoing concern for “his people”, each year bringing his lavish shows to the poorest towns in Mexico – for free. He now owns his own venue, a concert/rodeo arena in Guadalajara.

Gloriously packaged with dozens of personal photographs and stocked with Fernández’s latest single, “Me Quedan Todas”(All My Songs Fit Me)” – which cleverly reprises the titles of his biggest hits in the lyric – The Living Legend features thirty-six songs hand-picked by the singer, presented for the first time with English translations, reflecting the artist’s growing international reach. Each disc is thematic – one saluting Mexico and its traditions, one celebrating life on the ranch and in the countryside, and the final a serenade to women everywhere. Soaring to lofty heights and plumbing the deepest, darkest pains of existence, this music is Mexico’s gift to the human race: three discs of 100-proof catharsis. And Vicente Fernández, “El Número Uno,” is the greatest interpreter it has ever known.

Vicente Fernandez “The Living Legend” 3-CD box set
SonyBMG Norte 8287 684245 2
List Price $49.98

Suggested tracks for radio:
CD 1: Mexico Lindo y Querido, La Jalisciense, Palabra de Rey, La Muerte de Juan Armenta

CD 2: La Misma, El Derrotado, Aprendista a Volar

CD 3: Collar de Perlas, Que Te Vaya Bonito, La Diferencia, Me Quedan Todas (new track!) And putting the “ranch” in “ranchera”: CD 1: “Se Vende Un Caballo” & “La Muerte de un Gallero”

IMPORTANT DATES IN MEXICAN HISTORY: March 21 Birthday of Benito Juárez, famous president and national hero
May 1 Primero de Mayo is equivalent to U.S. Labor Day
May 5 Cinco de Mayo honors Mexico’s victory over French army in 1862
September 16 Mexican Independence Day
November 1 & 2 Day of the Dead, Mexico’s unique mix of European and Aztec culture
November 20 Mexican Revolution Day – celebrating the revolution of 1910
December 12 Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint


"While Sinatra comparisons reflect his immense popularity throughout Latin America, his vocal approach and legendary will to perform suggest another pair of American pop icons, Roy Orbison and Bruce Springsteen."


A voice that ranks as a natural wonder."

"(5 stars) A superb box set…compilers of box sets “en español” take notice: this is the way a Latin icon should be celebrated."


"Even more impressive that Vicente Fernandez’s giant sombrero is the reach of his music in Latin America and beyond….Fernandez is Mexico’s greatest singer of ranchera music."

"The living legend is a magnificent document of a singular artist, his times, and the traditions that have shaped his life and that of millions of his countrymen."

"Either you already know Vicente Fernández, or you just don’t realize you already know him. [He’s] one of those rare folks who lives up to the “living legend” label. Fernández, indeed, is the modern voice of Mexico."