Rubén Fuentes is undoubtedly the most important musical figure in the history of mariachi music. More than any other individual, he is responsible for shaping mariachi music into what it is today.
In 1944, at age 17, Fuentes joined Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán as a violinist, and was soon promoted to musical director of the group. From the late 1940s on, his arrangements for Miguel Aceves Mejía, Pedro Infante, José Alfredo Jiménez, Lola Beltrán, Charro Avitia, Amalia Mendoza, Lucha Villa and other artists revolutionized mariachi music and set a standard that remains unsurpassed. It was under Fuentes’ direction that Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán became known as “El Mejor Mariachi del Mundo” (“The World’s Greatest Mariachi”).
Although he retired from Mariachi Vargas as a violinist in the late fifties, Fuentes remains the group’s general director. Over 200 of his songs have been recorded by well-known artists, and three times he won Mexico’s coveted Songwriter of the Year award. His songs are featured in over 300 films, over 50 of which he scored. Four of these won awards for best film score of the year. His productions for both Vikki Carr and Linda Ronstadt won Grammy awards, and three of his CDs for Lucero went platinum.
This year, Mariachi Spectacular of Albuquerque proudly inducts Maestro Rubén Fuentes — the most important musical figure in the history of mariachi music — into its illustrious Hall of Fame.