The Pérez López-family, Maria is on the left.

María de Lourdes - Ambassadress of the Mexican Song.

       María de Lourdes was born on the 30th of December 1939 in Mexico City, daughter of Alberto Pérez Beltrán and Emilia López Santoyo. As a very little girl, hardly two years old, she moved with her family to Zetal, a small village in the state of Veracruz where her father worked as a teacher. After 5 years the family returned to Mexico City, to the streets of the district of Tepito, where María de Lourdes spent most of her childhood. However, this period was interrupted twice, namely when she was sent, for a short period of time, to a convent of the Franciscan nuns, and later as a teenager when she went , together with her brother Rafael, to the “rancho” of her uncle and aunt in Salamanca.

       Back from Salamanca María de Lourdes took a one year commercial course and at a very young age started to work as a secretary in a business called Teneria México, a tannery.

       As a little girl she already had a predilection for singing. At school she sang the leading parts during the traditional festivities around Christmas, the so called “pastorelas”. Listening to the radio the Mexican music captured her attention. Especially singers like Jorge Negrete, Lucha Reyes and Flor Silvestre won her admiration. “I was still a little girl when I listened for the first time to that music and from that moment on it kept catching my attention. I grew up with it and every day I liked it more. I nourished my spirit with all those fine melodies”, stated María de Lourdes.

       Each year her desire to sing the Mexican music by herself got stronger and at a very young age she started to sing at parties, weddings, dinners, wherever she could. During a talent hunting of the radiostation XEQ she attracted the attention of the organization. They recommended her to take singing lessons from Paco de Migueles and with his help she made enormous progress. A nightclub offered her a permanent contract as a singer and, in spite of her father’s objections, she accepted the job. She started earning some money and in this way supported her family, who, in the mean time, admitted that singing was her real vocation.

       “I love my music, because it is sincere, because it touches people, for the magnificent anthologies and harmonies, because its rich variation takes us to the four fundamental basics of Mexico, the Horn of Plenty, my country” according to María de Lourdes in one of her interviews. And about the contents of her songs, she continues “Mexican composers reflect in their work their own feelings and so offer the performers the oportunity to express themselves in an enormous varying scale of feelings. Hope, deceit, joy, vengeance, misfortune, tenderness, passion, love for the countryside, in one word all those sources of inspiration of musicians and poets are handled with emotion and elegance”

       After radiostation XEQ she went to the more important XEW, where she was a member of the permanent team of singers and did many live shows. At that time she got her first TV appearances and tours through the Mexican republic. María de Lourdes’ fame spread rapidly and in 1963 president Sukarno of Indonesia invited her for a special performance in his country.



Page up

       The dream of success started to take shape. Indonesia was the beginning of a long series of trips taking her to countries like Japan, the former Sovjet Union, England, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, the USA and all of South- and Central America.

       Because of her important efforts abroad, promoting the Mexican music, the former president and, in those days, also the chairman of the National Tourist Board, ing. Miguel Alemán Valdes officially appointed her “Ambassadress of the Mexican Song”, a title that gave her much satisfaction. “Over the years I could prove there are more than enough reasons to be proud of our music, the music I took across the world as a message of love and brotherhood”.

        At the beginning of the seventies María de Lourdes was show master of the popular TV program “Noches Tapatías” a show with Mexican music and theatre sketches. At that time she scored her greatest hit with the song “Cruz de Olvido” of composer and personal friend Juan Zaizar, an unprecedented success immediately immortalizing her with the Mexican public. During her long carreer as an interpreter of the Mexican song she produced approximately fifty LP’s and CD’s and played in nine movies as an actress.

Page up

       In 1988 she established “Grupo Impulsor de la Música Representativa de México” a foundation with the objective strengthening and promotion of the Mexican music. María de Lourdes could count on the cooperation of great artists and composers like Lola Beltrán, Lucha Villa, Cuate Castilla and José A. Expinoza “Ferrusquilla” as well as many important journalists. During her nine years with Grupo Impulsor, María de Lourdes especially spent much attention on tracing and schooling new talented interpreters of the Mexican music.

       In 1991 María de Lourdes came to the Netherlands for a show which would have big consequences for her carreer. Invited by Queen Beatrix, she performed with her music during the celebration of the 80th birthday of Prince Bernhard, this to the great enjoyment of the prince who, for many years already, had been a lover of Mexican music and who had met her during one of his statevisits to Mexico. When the Dutch television (NOS) made a TV registration of her live concert in “De Rode Hoed” in Amsterdam she conquered the Dutch public at one blow. Fanclubs were founded, she signed a recording contract with Dureco and Charles Aerts Theatre Productions organized tours throughout the Netherlands.

Page up

       María de Lourdes found much satisfaction in the annual return to the country where she was received with love and recognition by a steady growing number of admirers. She concluded her last, longest and most successful tour in October 1997. Nine Dutch theatres filled up to see the charismatic Ambassadress of the Mexican Song. At the same time she organized that month a promotion tour on radio and television of her latest CD “Simplemente María”, recorded by Polydor.

       Satisfied because of her success and delighted about the new plans with the theatrical agency and the recording company, she waited on the 6th of November at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to return to her beloved Mexico, where on the 19th of November her statue would be unveiled. María de Lourdes would be the first Mexican artist honored by a statue during her life, but sadly she did not get the opportunity to be there. A few moments before boarding the aircraft she became the victim of a heartattack. María de Lourdes died at the age of 58 years in the office of Martinair on Schiphol Airport.

Page up

       Her tragic death caused a shock among the Dutch public and bewilderment and disbelief in Mexico. On the 8th of November a large crowd of fans said goodbye to her on the Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico-D.F. (the square of the mariachis) by singing the song “Cruz de Olvido”, an impressive goodbye by thousands and thousands of admirers. Afterwards the funeral took place during a private ceremony.

Goodbye María de Lourdes, we will never forget you.

Source: Dureco 1164152 Maria de Lourdes , Embajadora de la Canción Mexicana 4CD set .

Article Volkskrant November 7th, 1997
Article NRC of November 7th, 1997