LITTLE VILLAGE — Music flowed through 26th Street this weekend as neighbors honored the life of Vicente Fernández, known to many as “El Rey” of Mexican ranchera music.
Local musicians Mariachi Mi Tierra played a set of classic Fernández songs below the Little Village arch as residents gathered in the street and sidewalks to listen and sing-along to hits like “Volver, Volver.”
Fernández died Dec. 12, according to the AP. He was 81.
“It was an honor and a great pride to share with everyone a great musical career and give everything for the audience,” Fernández’s family said on his Instagram account.
Fernández was born on February 17, 1940 in the western state of Jalisco. He got his first guitar and started learning to play when he was 8 years old.
He sold more than 50 million records, won three Grammy and nine Latin Grammy awards, and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Fernández’s music was widely popular even outside Mexico, most notably among Mexican immigrant communities in the United States who resonated with his songs about missing their home country.
A section of 26th Street, including the “Bienvenidos a Little Village” arch, was honorarily renamed Vicente Fernández Avenue after he visited the historically Mexican neighborhood in 2012, according to the Chicago Tribune.
At that same time, he received the keys to the city of Chicago and the week of Oct. 20-27 was declared “Vicente Fernández Week.”
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