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Mexico And The World Mourn The Loss Of Celso Piña, One Of Mexico’s Greatest Musicians

If there’s one instrument that best describes Mexican music is has to be the accordion. While the musical key instrument known as a squeezebox has its origins in Europe, it indeed came alive in Mexico as the staple sound in rancheras and cumbias. There is only one musician who thrived through the accordion sound, though sadly that is now a thing of the past.

Celso Piña, known as the “The Accordion Rebel,” died yesterday at the age of 66.

Credit: Instagram/@danonewillrise297

The Mexican musician was in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, and was soon scheduled to g on tour, but had a heart attack and died at the hospital.

La Tuna Group, Piña’s record label, confirmed in a statement that he died yesterday at 12:38 p.m. after suffering a heart attack.

Credit: Instagram/@mexicoprimero_

“Today is a sad day for La Tuna Group,” they stated, “Our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and followers. We are left with an intense emptiness, but he leaves us his great legacy forever. We appreciate respecting the privacy of the family.”

Piña seemed to have been in good spirits earlier in the day and tweeted for the final time. “No one can resist the cumbia,” he said.

The self-taught musician had been touring off and on for months. He also had upcoming shows in Georgia and Texas.

The Grammy-award winning musician had a musical career that spanned 40 decades, and aside from his musical stylings as an accordion player, he was also a composer, singer, and arranger.

Credit: Instagram/@patanegra_mx

Piña had collaborated with several contemporary artists including Lila Downs, Julieta Venegas, Cafe Tacvba, and Gloria Trevi, Variety reports. He was also more than a cumbia musician. His sound also fused into other musical genres, including norteña music, hip-hop, ska, reggae, and more.

Several celebrity fans and collaborators tweeted their heartfelt condolences.

According to the Grammy Academy, Piña got his hands on his first accordion in 1980. He taught himself how to play and performed with his brothers. “Together, they went on to play norteña and tropical music, eventually adding cumbia to their style,” the Academy states. “The brothers became known as ‘Celso Piña Y Su Ronda Bogotá,’ giving a nod to cumbia’s motherland.”

Fans on social media also expressed how much Piña meant to them.

One fan, @iphadra, tweeted, “his greatness of # CelsoPiña is not due to its successes or fame in the 5 continents. It is because it was he who came to claim the music of the marginalized.” @JJ4rmCh tweeted, Rest In Peace Celso Piña, no one fucked it up on an accordion like u did.” But this tweet we could totally relate to from @jennjenn1_  who tweeted, “It wasn’t a real quince or wedding until you played some #CelsoPiña ❤️???????? ???????????? may his music live on for generations to come.”

Writer Melissa del Bosque had the honor of being able to interview him. She tweeted, “Hearing ‘Barrio Bravo’ for the first time was a life-changing experience. Celso Piña and Toy Hernández, of Control Machete, had created a whole new hybrid mixing Colombian cumbia with the anarchy of urban streets. I went directly to Monterrey to interview El Rebelde del Acordeón. Here we are at Cafe Brasil, one of his favorite haunts. As I wrote then, when ‘Cumbia Sobre el Rio hit the airwaves there wasn’t a car from Chicago to Chiapas that didn’t have the bass booming and the sonic onslaught layered with accordion rattling their windows.’ #RipCelsoPina.”

Last year, Piña visited one of his biggest fans, who is also an accordion player just like him. The two performed in the streets of Tamaulipas, Mexico.

Herrera recalled what it was like hearing that his musical idol had died. The young musician told El Universal that he was with his daughter when he heard the news that Piña had died. He said he couldn’t believe it, and all the memories from his incredible visit with him last year rushed back to him. He said it was a dream to have been able to perform with him. 

Here’s a couple of his most beloved and hit songs.

Here’s “Cumbia Sobre el Rio Suena” live and with an orchestra! He had such a distinct voice and sound. There was no one else like him.

“No Sea Conmigo”

This was his collaboration with Cafe Tacvba. So lovely! We dare you not to dance to this one.

What’s your favorite Celso Piña track? Let us know in the comment section below. Rest in power, Celso!!

READ: This Isn’t Your Mama’s Cumbia: The Eclectic History Of Latin America’s Classic Music Genre

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