José Antonio Méndez: The Golden Hoarse Singer, The King  or the King of Feeling

 If there is a Cuban defined by his romantic music, his boleros, his Feeling, that is José Antonio Méndez, who was born on June 21st in 1927, in the Havana neighborhood of Los Pinos, today’s  Arroyo Naranjo municipality .

Since a very early age, the composer, guitarist and interpreter showed his interest in music. He was only twelve when he participated in a radio program competition identified as The Supreme Court of Art in which he interpreted a Mexican corrido.

Over time he stood out as a great composer and a very peculiar interpreter. He became known in the musical world as “ The Golden Hoarse Singer “, the “King” or “The King of Feeling”. He did not stand out for his voice,  but rather for his interpretation, characterized by his deep timbre.

From the first years of his life he showed interest in music and had a self-taught education.

Many of his musical creations became very popular both in Cuba and abroad. His creations have become unforgettable in the voices of hundreds of singers from the Antillean Island and beyond the seas. Just enough is to mention some of his titles: La gloria eres tú, Novia mía, Tú mi adoración, Mi mejor canción, Ese sentimiento que se llama amor, Si me comprendieras,  Cemento, Ladrillo y Arena, and  Me faltabas tú.

Today some of his compositions are considered emblematic pieces in the songbook of all time.

This popular Cuban artist was characterized by the sincerity and authenticity shown in all his lifelong work and performances.

Among the famous Havana nightlife venues, the admired musician preferred El pico blanco, located on the heights of the Saint John’s Hotel, in El Vedado. Just arriving at his long-awaited performance in that venue, on June 10, 1989, Méndez García was run over in a car accident. He passed away at 62 years of age.


Author: Maria Salome Campanioni 
English version: Gilda Gil


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