Lalo Guerrero [1916-2005]
Known as the “creator of Chicano Music,” Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero generated a legacy that runs over 60 decades and has influenced musicians such as Linda Ronstadt, Los Lobos, Quetzal, El Vez and many others on both sides of the U.S. Mexican border. Considered a historian whose chronicles of Chicano communities are contained in his numerous songs, Lalo humorously details the promises and perils of daily life for Mexican Americans.
Born on Christmas Eve in 1916 in Tucson, Arizona to a humble home, Lalo was staunchly encouraged by his mother to explore music.
By age 17 he was writing and performing his own songs. One of this most beloved, "Canción Mexicana", became the unofficial Mexican national anthem, with many Mexican artists including the great Lola Beltran, recording popular interpretations. With a string of Top 10 hits in the ‘50s and ‘60s, his list of his musical accomplishments runs long.
Exposed to pachuco culture (Chicano jazz hipsters) in California in the late 1940s, he was inspired to write several jazz tunes in their honor. "Marijuana Boogie", "Chicas Patas Boogie", and "Los Chucos" became anthems for young pachucos and pachucas or "zoot suiters" suspended between two worlds, and asserting their own space within American society through music and fashion. Lalo supported the Farmworkers movement and wrote "No Chicanos On TV" in support of the civil rights cause. A high caliber musician who was steeped in both Latin American traditions as well as jazz, Lalo was recognized as a national folk treasure by the Smithsonian Institution and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1996.