Aida Cuevas, a ranchera music performer with 38 years of experience, is coming to Chicago’s Harris Theatre on Nov. 24 to support the first student mariachi program of its kind made possible by the Mariachi Heritage Foundation. Cuevas spoke to EXTRA about her upcoming performance.
EXTRA: What does it mean for you to participate in this concert in support of a charitable cause?
Aida Cuevas: Mexican music needs to be supported to remain and transcend from generation to generation. I am thankful for the invitation. I can bring a little bit of Mexico to the audience through our mariachi.
Why is it important to instill Mexican music to other generations through programs such as these?
I think it’s very important that from our grandparents and parents to us and our children, we continue singing Mexican music, even though we don’t dedicate ourselves to it, it is important to know the songs of our roots.
What can be expected from your presentation?
In my show there has to be music by José Alfredo Jiménez, Tomas Mendez and of course Juan Gabriel. The show is varied and accompanied by a great mariachi band. It will leave a good taste. There are musicians representing mariachi at their best.
Tell us about your latest album.
My 35th album “Totalmente Juan Gabriel” is a tribute to him and is up for a Best Ranchero Album at the Latin Grammy Awards. For me, the record that you work on so lovingly and with such passion that the audience loves it is the best reward. But beyond that, being nominated as one of the best albums during that year in that genre, I feel very happy.
How would you describe the genre of music and your performance?
Ranchera music is deeply rooted in our ancestors and it has been part of our history. It has been translated by many interpreters and has transcended Mexico. It is known for its genre. The music is passionate, cheerful, beautiful, and vibrant.
Can people of other nationalities enjoy ranchera?
I have been fortunate to take my music to Africa. I have seen people that don’t speak a single word in Spanish, yet they understand the music perfectly. Anywhere in the world, seeing mariachi, seeing the clothing, and hearing the music, they say is Mexico. Music has no borders, no language.