Antonio Aguilar and his Influence on Charro Azteca
Today is the 11th anniversary of the passing of Zacatecas’s finest, El Charro de Mexico, Don Antonio Aguilar. 11 years after his death, we still remember him not only for paving the way for future Mexican artists into international fame, but for showing the world the beauty of Mexican culture with poise and class.
Antonio Aguilar’s legacy hits close to home for us at Charro Azteca. Aguilar was born in the same city as our dad, in Villanueva, Zacatecas, the same year my grandpa was born (1919). For as long as I can remember, his songs played at all the family parties, on weekend mornings, and in every car ride. We either listened to tamborazo or Antonio Aguilar, no in between lol. I learned every lyrics to almost every song without even realizing it. He not only represented our Mexican culture for us, but made our family especially proud to be from Zacatecas.
Aguilar’s life represents the “American Dream;” the idea that big dreams and hard work can make anything possible. Dice la historia… that when he arrived in the United States for the first time, he even slept on benches near Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Despite many rejections throughout his career, even being told that he wasn’t popular enough to bring audiences big enough for places like Los Angeles Sports Arena or Madison Square Garden, he went on to become the first Hispanic artist to sell out Madison Square Garden in New York City for SIX consecutive nights and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000.
Antonio Aguilar was loved by many across the world, not just his people in Mexico or the United States. He was the first to integrate charreria into his concerts, an art that his son and many other artists have adopted. He became one of Mexico’s most beloved artists because of his love for his country and the way he showed the world how beautiful the Mexican culture was. Jose Hernandez, the director of the Mariachi Sol de Mexico, recalls working with Aguilar by stating, “He was so respectful of this country. He would tell all his crew and all his musicians, ‘we’re going to the United States, so we must be on our best behavior. We want the Americans to see what the true Mexico is all about and that our culture is beautiful.’” (LA Times)
At Charro Azteca we aim to do what Antonio did his whole life, and that is keep traditions alive and show the world the beauty of our culture, especially in the current political situation we live in. He didn’t only value his country, but family as well. The Aguilar dynasty is still thriving and continuing to live the dream while proudly honoring their roots. Charro Azteca was built on those same beliefs. Family, culture, and traditions are everything.
Antonio Aguilar will live on in our hearts through his music, may he rest in peace.