The Caliente Column

Lorenzo de Monteclaro: At Center Stage
By Doug Shannon (

Lorenzo de Monteclaro likes to satisfy his rabidly loyal fans with
versions of his classis hits like "El Ausente" and "El Gallo." But the
beloved, charismatic singer from Cuenjame, Durango just released a new
CD, "Digan Lo Que Digan," in which he is accompanied by a grupo moderno
for the first time.

The CD's cover has a drawing of a scorpion and a mountain on it. Lorenzo
explained to us what those mean.

"The scorpion is an homage to Durango--the state in which I was born," he

"The other part of the logo, the mountain, is identified with Monterrey,
Nuevo Leon as a thank-you because I've lived there for the past 31 years."

Moreover, he's wearing a tuxedo on the CD's cover photo, which also shows
a scene from Las Vegas.

"I'm still paying off the rental fee for the tuxedo," he said, laughing.

"The idea for that came from Sony Mexico and was inspired more or less
by the lyrics of Manuel Alejandro, who is the composer of all the songs
on this album."

Alejandro is the Spanish composer who has written big hits for singers
like Emmanuel and Raphael. One of Lorenzo's songs on the new CD "Digan
Lo Que Digan" is a cumbia version of Emmanuel's hit, "Todo Se Derrumbo
Dentro De Mi."

"I had a thorough knowledge of Manuel Alejandro's songs. Their lyrics
are very pure, very beautiful, and their melodies are very pleasant,"
Lorenzo said.

Lorenzo said he can sing with just about any kind of musical ensemble.

"Wherever I go, there's always a norten~o group, or a banda, or a
mariachi, or a grupo. I adapt to the circumstances."

And he *has* to--he doesn't have his own band so he must rely on local
groups to back him up when he tours, which is all the time.

"I've never been fortunate enough to have my own group," he said.
"Undoubtedly, that would be fabulous for me, but it's not possible
because that would be too much to ask from life. I've always been a
solo artist."

Part of the reason for that, he said, is because he doesn't play
any instruments.

"I don't even play the guitar. When I arrived in Monterrey in 1964,
I was invited to join a mariachi, but one of the members asked me,
'But what do you play? In this mariachi we all sing and we all play
instruments.' But I haven't battled or suffered; I've been very
fortunate," Lorenzo said.

He began singing professionally at age 18. His career has lasted for
36 years and he has recorded 56 albums. He is married and has five

"I was 18 when I sang on a radio talent show for XECDN in Torreon,
Coahuila, called 'Aficionados de Los Ejidos,'" he said.

"I didn't win the contest, but I didn't sing 'El Gallo.' But from that
contest I took away the determination to dedicate my heart, soul, and
life to this career and here we are today with these same desires to
keep working."

Lorenzo said even now, he never takes vacations--he's accustomed to
his busy rhythm. He's currently choosing songs for his next album.
He said they would be new songs, not covers.

(Many thanks to Yrene Corona Soto for her help in preparing this