The Charro Singer of Alaska "If you like it, make it happen" BY ITZEL YARGER ZAGAL
Simón Hernández in his charro suit.
His mother told him he was a "very loud" child but she never imagined he would become the Charro Singer of Alaska. For Simón Hernández music is his passion and on the stage he feels complete and joyful. He shares these feelings with his public: “I get excited, because I’m representing my country.”
In addition to singing with trios and musical groups in California, he has been involved with prominent bands in Mexico as La Tropa Chicana from La Barca, Jalisco. He even recorded an album called Para Siempre (Forever). In Anchorage he sang for the first time in 1980 at La Cabaña restaurant, and then with a trio at Gallos. As Simón recalled, at that time there was no mariachi in town, and everything was accompanied by guitar or recorded tracks. In the years since, he has participated in social and cultural events of the Latin American community: festivals, Independence celebrations, concerts, masses, dances, and many others. He also participated in the Univisión programLa Serenata a Medio Sol en Anchorage, Alaska (The Sunset Serenade in Anchorage, Alaska).
When we spoke about his family, Simón recognized that his wife, Armida Hernández, “is my unconditional support, encourages me, revives me, she prepares my clothes, pampers me and makes sure my presentations go well.” His dream is that one of his grandchildren continues with the musical tradition. Therefore, he tells young people: “Music is emotion and happiness. If you like it, make it happen! And remember that practice makes a master.”
His favorite artists are Javier Solís and Vicente Fernández. Although Simón received no formal musical education, he gets to listen and to practice alone without embarrassment. Simón is a self-taught singer, as was the renowned singer and composer José Alfredo Jiménez.
Surely Simón is a central figure in the Anchorage Latino community and new generations have been inspired by his career. Such is the case of Mariachi Juvenil Anchorage Agave Azul, who recently announced its project of opening a school of mariachis. When the group has invited Simón to perform with them, their respect and admiration for him have been clear. Recognizing that Alaska is a big state with a small Hispanic community, Simón advises: “Those who have a talent, do not neglect it, go forward, and start more groups. There is a lot of talent among our people, but there is some selfishness. We should leave all that behind! We must unite as a community and reach agreements because we can gain a lot. It is better to look forward to the new generations, and share with them the emotion and joy for our roots. Tell them: ‘Do not forget your roots!’”
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