credit: La Güera Chakaloza / Facebook

These Five Singers Prove You Don’t Have to Be Mexican to Love Mexican Music

Who says you have to be Mexican to love its music? Whether it’s rancheras, Norteño or banda, Mexican is infectious. These five singers had little to no ties to Mexico but once they got a taste of its culture, they were hooked:

1.Magdalena Serafin aka La Güera Chakaloza

La Güera Chakaloza
Photo Credit: La Güera Chakaloza / Facebook

Magdalena Serafin loves to tirar desmadre.

 She’s a Polish-born singer known as La Güera Chakaloza.

Serafin, who’s now based in Chicago, sings a mean corrido.

She’s even got her own band, “Sus 4 Animales.”

After impressing singer Larry Hernandez with her chops…

Credit: Thebrandon831 / YouTube

She had a chance to perform with Banda Los Recoditos.

Credit: La Guera Chakaloza / YouTube

The banda group invited her up on stage during one of their live performances. She’s since performed Los Tucanes, Larry Hernandez and Banda MS.

Earlier this year, she even met with one of Larry Hernandez’s mutual friends…

Credit: La Guera Chakaloza / YouTube

El Compa Negro.

La Güera and her band now gig regularly around Chicago.

2. El Charro Negro

Bobby Butler of Little Joe & The Latinaires
Photo Credit: Buena Suerte Records

Nicknamed “El Charro Negro,” Bobby Butler was one of the vocalists for the Tejano group Little Joe & The Latinaires.

Here’s Butler Singing “El Papalote.”

Photo Credit: CATOHERNANDEZ / YouTube

NICE.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson clapping

Butler later became a vocalist for the band Tortilla Factory.

Credit: TejanoLegend’s channel / YouTube

When Little Joe – a Tejano music legend – fired the Latinaires, the band rebranded as Tortilla Factory. Butler, who donned a charro outfit during performances, told the Austin Chronicle he first heard Tejano music in Arkansas: “I must have been 8 or 9 years old – me and Mom and my brothers out in the cotton fields picking cotton. At that time, they brought up workers from Mexico to help with the cotton harvest. They’d sing out in that sun all day, and I fell in love with the sound.”

El Charro Negro is still singing.

Tortilla Factory 40 Yrs Album
Photo Credit: Tortilla Factory

In 2013, Tortilla Factory released a 40th anniversary album featuring Butler, who is now into his 70s. He’s still got it. That’s him on the cover.

3. Dwayne Verheyden & The Texmexplosion

Accordionist Dwayne Verheyden
Photo Credit: Dwayne Verheyden / Facebook

Dwayne Verheyden was born in the Netherlands. How the hell did he fall in love with Tejano music? The way most kids usually do: his father was a huge fan. “It was kind of a normal thing for me, because I listened to this music everyday,” said Verheyden in a YouTube interview. So basically, the soundtrack to his childhood was Tejano legend Leonardo “Flaco” Jimenez.

Let’s hear what he’s got:

Credit: Dwayne Verheyden / YouTube

DAAAAAAAAAMN

Friday movie GIF "Daaaamn"

Inspired by Flaco Jimenez, Verheyden began playing the accordion at age 7.

Dwayne Verheyden as a child
Photo Credit: Dwayne Verheyden / Facebook

Now he fronts his own band: the Texmexplosion.

Verheyden met his hero a few years ago.

Credit: wsmvideoproductie / YouTube

Yep, Flaco Jimenez, who once said Verheyden plays his songs “perfectly.”

The Tejano music scene has embraced him.

Credit: Dwayne Verheyden / YouTube

He was named Best New Artist at the 2014 Tejano Music Awards.

4. Timoteo “El Charro Negro”

Timoteo El Charro Negro
Photo Credit: Timoteo “El Charro Negro” / Facebook

There’s another singer who calls himself “El Charro Negro,” and his name is Timoteo (real name: Timothy Pollard).

He’s been on shows such as Sábado Gigante, Despierta America and even Caso Cerrado.

Credit: Timoteo El Charro Negro / YouTube

Born in Texas and raised in Long Beach, California, the 48-year-old was exposed to plenty of Mexican music during his youth. When he heard Vicente Fernández, he was hooked. “A few years ago, I was at a party at a friend’s house and I heard the powerful voice of Don Chente singing ‘Nuestro Juramento’ and ‘Lástima Que Seas Ajena.’ I was paralyzed. I still remember it and I get goosebumps. I knew that I had to sing that music,” said Timoteo to People en Español.

Here’s Timoteo with Chente.

Timoteo El Charro with Vicente Fernandez
Photo Credit: Timoteo “El Charro Negro” / Facebook

They didn’t just meet, though.

Timoteo El Charro Negro and Vicente Fernandez
Photo Credit: Timoteo “El Charro Negro” / Facebook

Chente invited Timoteo to perform a song with him during one of his legendary live concerts. Pass the tequila.

5. Mateo “El Gringo”

Mateo "El Gringo" at Mariachi Plaza

 

Photo Credit: MateoFilm / YouTube

If you’ve eaten at a Mexican restaurant in the Los Angeles neighborhoods of East L.A., Highland Park or Echo Park in the last decade, chances are you’ve seen Matthew Stoneman perform at least once.

He’s the guy who looks like a science teacher with a guitar.

 

Credit: MateoFilm / YouTube

Known as Mateo “El Gringo,” Stoneman learned to play guitar while in jail for theft. After his release, he watched local musicians performing for tips in restaurants. Inspired, Stoneman began performing old-school boleros in Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles.

He’s now the subject of a documentary, Mateo. 

Photo Credit: MateoFilm / YouTube

The New York Times described the doc as a “deeply complicated portrait of an angel-voiced musician.”

Who else has embraced corridos and rancheras like a Mexican? Leave a comment below to tell us.

 

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