My sister had a great idea for our mother’s birthday this year. She suggested we get our mom tickets to see Juan Gabriel, one of the most legendary composers and singers in Mexico. She thought it would be great to coordinate with our cousins so that our aunts could join her. It was going to be amazing. Growing up my mom would play his music as we cleaned the house on Saturday mornings. I remember singing along with her. I currently have a Juan Gabriel Pandora station on my phone for those days I might want to go back to my childhood, and sing to the top of my lungs.
Sadly, my sister called me today to inform me that Juan Gabriel passed away. Selfishly, at first, I was very upset that my mom would now never be able to see him. His concert was scheduled for this fall. We should have bought her tickets last year! Once I got over the fact that my mother’s surprise was ruined, I thought about what a great loss Juan Gabriel’s death is to the Latin American world. His death, I am sure, feels like a personal loss to so many. He has been making hit songs since the 70’s with “Querida” and “No Tengo Dinero”. Since then he has composed hundreds of songs. A wiki page claimed he wrote over 900 songs for 300 artists. I am not sure if that is accurate, but finding exact numbers is not possible. I tried. I guess we can say he wrote countless amount of songs. His songs were remade to different genres, including Spanish Rock, bachata, salsa, banda, etc. He recently collaborated to sing, some of his most popular songs, with young artists. The music videos made of those duets gives me the chills. His lyrics are gold. His songs are timeless.
It was the kid’s bath time at home, but I just wanted to sing so I turned on my Pandora Juan Gabriel station. I bathed the kids with the music in the background. I told the kids that Juan Gabriel was an amazing artists, and that I would listen to him when I was a child. Why didn’t I do this sooner? Ugh! Time is passing by. My kids don’t know about Juan Gabriel. They barely understand Spanish at all. My mom will never see Juan Gabriel. Time all of a sudden seems so precious. My sister said she would now be on the look out for tickets to other Mexican legends that are aging like Vicente Fernandez, Marco Antonio Solis and Joan Sebastian. I promised myself to start putting on music and singing while I cleaned the house, instead of putting a Frozen DVD for my youngest so that I could clean more efficiently.
As I listened to his music, I came upon “Abrazame Muy Fuerte” (Hug Me Tightly). It is a very emotional love song about time. It was a very fitting song for how his death was making me realize time is NOW.
Spanish lyrics: “Abrázame que el tiempo es malo y muy cruel amigo, abrázame que el tiempo es oro si tú estás conmigo, Abrázame fuerte, muy fuerte, más fuerte que nunca”.
English translation: “Hug me, that time is a bad and cruel friend, Hug me, that time is gold if you are with me, Hug me tightly, very tightly, more tightly than ever.”
We don’t have time, especially with kids, parents and aging legends.
We lost a legend. We missed our opportunity to see him in person, but his music will be forever. From now on I will give more than just my love and attention to my kids. I will share who I am, what I listen to, what I like. They should know who I am besides mommy. How else will they know what concert tickets to buy me?
May Juan Gabriel rest in peace. He will live forever in our hearts and through his music.
Juan Gabriel Duet with Juanes
Here is a mesmerizing Juan Gabriel Duet with Natalia Lafourcade “Ya No Vivo Por Vivir”
Mana singing Juan Gabriel song “Hasta Que Te Conoci”
Selena singing a Juan Gabriel song “Costumbres”