November 20, which is Mexico’s Revolution Day and a very important national holiday, always reminds me of one of the best female singers in the history of mariachi music: Aída Cuevas. This is because the very first song I learned to sing was a song by Aída Cuevas, which I performed at age five in my kindergarten’s celebration of la Revolución Mexicana.
Although I don’t have a video of my performance available now, here is Aída Cuevas’ magnificent interpretation of this song I’m talking about. It’s called El Pastor.
As you can see, Aída has a very gifted voice that has won her multiple awards, including a Latin Grammy Award. She has shared the stage with prominent musicians such as Lola Beltrán, Plácido Domingo, Celia Cruz, Juan Gabriel, Gloria Estefan, and Vicente Fernández. She has also performed for many presidents around the world, including U.S. presidents Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Aída’s unique style and great talent first shined publicly at age 11, when she appeared in a radio station in Mexico. Her voice captivated many radio broadcasters, which marked the beginning of a very successful career. Ever since 1975, she has released a total of 35 albums, selling over 7 million copies. She owns the title of “Ambassador of Mexican Music,” and with good reasons.
Ever since I started getting involved in mariachi music, I have proved how hard it is finding strong mariachi voices. Although there are many current singers in Mexico who have interpreted rancheras –a type of mariachi song– not everyone can pull it off and own it as Aída does. A true mariachi singer must have a powerful voice, as powerful as being able to sing without a microphone, and let’s not forget about falsetes, or falsettos. Aída possesses all the qualities that characterize a great mariachi vocalist, and her years of experience have indeed made her the Queen of Rancheras.
One of my personal favorites since age five, Aída continues to represent the best of Mexican music today. Her humility and great character, along with astonishing talent, make her a shining star that will forever be part of the history of mariachi music.