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Reyes, Lucha (1906–1944)

Reyes, Lucha (1906–1944)

Lucha Reyes was a Mexican mariachi-ranchera singer of the 1930s and 1940s. She was born Maria de la Luz Flores Aceves on May 23, 1906, into a lower-class family in Guadalajara, Jalisco. She later moved with her mother to Mexico City where she worked in carpa (tent) theaters from a young age. There she developed her singing talents as an operatic-style soprano. She spent time in Los Angeles in the early 1920s and gained popularity among the Mexican American population; there is a statue of her in East Los Angeles. Before becoming a solo artist she performed in the Trío Reyes-Ascencio and the Cuarteto Anáhuac. Reyes's voice changed after a respiratory illness she contracted while touring in Europe in the late 1920s. This caused her to lose her voice for a period of time, after which it was deeper and hoarser, thus lending itself to the ranchera style. "Guadalajara" was one of her first solo hits.

Reyes was a pioneer in mariachi music and in Mexican culture in general, as women did not typically sing in mariachi bands. Her distinct singing style, el estilo bravío (the rebellious or ferocious style) was an attack on dominant social norms, including sexist treatment of women. She appeared in many classic comedias rancheras (musical melodramas set in the countryside), such as ¡Ay Jalisco, no te rajes! (1941) and Flor silvestre (1943). She suffered from alcoholism and depression and died on June 25, 1944, from a lethal combination of alcohol and barbiturates.

See alsoMariachi; Music: Popular Music and Dance.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Garcia-Orozco, Antonia. "El estilo bravío de Lucha Reyes y la canción." Nerter: Revista Dedicada a la Literatura, el Arte y el Conocimiento 5-6 (Spring-Summer 2003): 72-76.

Garcia-Orozco, Antonia. "Cucurrucucu palomas: The estilo bravío of Lucha Reyes and the Creation of Feminist Consciousness via the canción ranchera." Ph.D. diss., Claremont Graduate University, 2005.

                                  Caryn C. Connelly

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