Feel Good 5 Friday on Saturday … Chente Edition

18 Dec

Presence is a big thing.

You notice it when it’s missing. I mean when it’s there in the crowd or group you see it, but when it’s gone that void is there. You feel the heaviness of it.

This week my people lost a big voice.

Big.

Irreplaceable.

Chente.

Or as people who didn’t know him … Vicente Fernandez.

Had the presence so big and voice so powerful that he pulled off the one name. In my household seeing how my family is Guat, we listened mostly to cumbias, marimba, and merengue. However, when you live in something called “la vecindad” everybody be hearing your music. From the morning sounds of Apartment 6’s “I’m Your Puppet,” to Apartment 3’s “Hungry Like the Wolf,” to Apartment 9’s “The Dream Team is in the House.” However, when it came to these carne asadas where everyone was considered family, the sounds of La Sonora Dinamita and the rest of the Sonoras dominated the cassette players or record players, but towards the end of the night, when most of the Budweisers were gone, Chente would come on the loudspeakers. There would be other rancheras, but Chente’s voice was accompanied by a chorus of neighbors singing. And singing. And singing.

In this neighborhood we had birthday parties, first communion parties, baptism parties, graduation parties, all kinds of parties, where every family in the building participated. You got everyone’s 1970’s orange flowered and avocado green linoleum kitchen chairs out in the large patios, with the large Sanyo speakers connected through multiple chords. The drumbeats, the trumpets, accordions, saxophones, keyboards, everything blaring and everyone dancing it up. But as the night ended there would be the deep, smooth voice echoing through the party and everyone sitting there feeling the mood of the song and the feelings in his voice. And they’d raise the cans in another toast.

As soon as I heard the news that Chente passed away, I thought of “la vecindad”. I thought about my childhood friends, I thought about red-light-green-light, tag, I thought about the food, the pinatas, I thought about the impromptu karaoke at the end of the night, and Budweiser cans raised in a toast. I thought about the parties and how the memories are some of the best ones to this date. And how along with La Sonora Dinimata, and Johnny Ventura, Chente was also very much present during the soundtrack of my childhood.

I got a chance to see him twice in concert when he came to town, and I was glad I did. One of the best shows I’ve seen. Definitely will be missed by me and even more so by la vecindad.

Buen Camino …

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Volver, Volver — Vicente Fernandez

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El Rey — Vicente Fernandez

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Me Voy a Quitar de en Medio — Vicente Fernandez

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No Me Se Rajar — Vicente Fernandez

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Aca Entre Nos — Vicente Fernandez

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7 Responses to “Feel Good 5 Friday on Saturday … Chente Edition”

  1. claywatkins December 19, 2021 at 7:03 AM #

    WOW, great post. I had never heard of Vicente Fernandez before your post, though it is likely I have heard his music growing up in southeastern Texas over 40 years ago. Like you I grew up in almost the same ere – the late 60s and 70s but in a different culture. I gave ‘Volver, volver’ a spin (or rather a click) I figured that “Volver, volver’ meant to turn or return and I was kind of correct in that it means, ‘Going Back, going back.’ I suppose we all have those moments in our lives when we think back to those people whom we have loved and who made a difference in our lives long ago. Love and music have the same language. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas with much peace and joy.

    • The Guat December 19, 2021 at 10:06 PM #

      Oh man he was so great! Amazing voice and presence. He had so many hits about love, heartbreak, loss, strength, it was hard to narrow them down but the Volver, Volver and El Rey songs are probably in everyone’s top 5. Glad you have it a chance … I’m sure growing up in Texas there is no doubt you heard one of his many songs 🙂 sending you good vibes my friend for a great Christmas 🙂

  2. Sorryless December 20, 2021 at 2:21 AM #

    What a beautiful tribute, and I have to admit, I wasn’t familiar. But the song makes me want to know more now, thanks to you.

    • The Guat December 20, 2021 at 9:32 PM #

      Awwwwwe dude. I’m glad I introduced you to Chente. One of the Dodgers had his song as a walk-up song and the crowd was hyped up ! When it played you could hear almost the entire stadium with Gritos and busting out the lyrics. Definitely made his mark out here and there:) it was kind of sad I know a lot of la vecindad was super sad. But he left A LOT of music and performances to enjoy. Hope you’re doing well my friend. Sunshine and waves …

      • Sorryless December 22, 2021 at 1:46 AM #

        I loved this post, Cali.

        Sunshine and waves back atcha

  3. Island Traveler January 3, 2022 at 12:03 PM #

    Great post.

    • The Guat January 5, 2022 at 11:20 PM #

      Thanks he was such a great presence, and singer. I’m sure he will be missed.

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