About Pepe Domínguez, the Mexican composer, and musician

Pepe Domínguez, Mexican composer and musician, originally from Yucatán. Author of "Granito de sal", "Beso asesino", "Pájaro azul" and the famous "Aires del Mayab".

About Pepe Domínguez, the Mexican composer, and musician
Troubadour, composer, poet, musical director, and promoter of the Yucatecan song, artistically known as "Pepe Domínguez". Image: Museum of Yucatecan Song

To talk about "Pepe Domínguez" is to talk about history, love, passion, memories, songs, verses, music. It is to speak of a lifetime of feeling and poetry, made the song. For all of the above, Dzidzantún remembers and pays tribute to this illustrious composer, troubadour, poet, teacher, musical director, and promoter of Yucatecan song. He was born on July 16, 1900, in this prosperous town.

In his youth, "Pepe Domínguez" made his first compositions known in the serenades he sang to the quinceañeras of his time, who enjoyed his voice and the delicacy of the lyrics of his songs, which he interpreted with great feeling. Son of Don Joaquín Domínguez Lizama and Doña Severa Victoria Zaldívar, at an early age he surprises with his verses and songs. His fame rose like the foam, but this did not make him lose the humility that always characterized him as a person, good son, and exemplary father of a family. He came to be considered among the three greats of the Yucatecan trova along with Guty Cárdenas and Ricardo Palmerín.

He began in the art of song by rehearsing verses whose rhyme and cadence would lead him to become one of the greatest interpreters of Yucatecan songs. His first poems were published in "La Voz de la Revolución", a newspaper in the city of Mérida, as well as in other newspapers that circulated between 1918 and 1920.

His first zarzuela was "Pancho Pinto" set to music by Rubén Darío Herrera and his first song, "Muñequita". Others such as "Ojos con alma de acero", "Tengo miedo de quererte", "Serenata" and "Rubia princesita", attracted attention for the exquisiteness, delicacy and originality of the songs, as well as their well constructed verses. "Pepe Domínguez" asked Profr. Víctor Manuel Martínez Herrera, a native of Cansahcab, to write lyrics for his songs and began to sing a duet with Felipe Castillo Vega.

The fame of this duet spread throughout the country and in 1926 they were invited to perform in Havana, Cuba, to reinforce the Mexican revue company, of which Celia Montalván was the star. This Yucatecan duet performed at the PAYRET Theater in Havana and achieved great success, where Pepe Domínguez popularized several of their songs. In 1944 he performed with the Típica Yucalpetén in Mexico City, both at the Castillo de Chapultpec and at the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Considering that music plays an important role in all societies and that there are a great number of styles, characteristic of different geographic regions or historical periods, it is worthy of admiration that he has mastered several styles such as the romantic song, dance, tango, clave, bolero, Colombian bambuco, paso doble, Spanish pasacalle, chotís, pregón, and jarana yucateca. To this genre belongs the very well-known jarana "Aires del Mayab", which in mariachi version, has gone around the world.

"Pepe Domínguez" is considered the most complete of Yucatecan composers, having produced a total of 151 songs, 102 of which have his own verses, which confirms the opinion that has always been held of him as a musician and poet. In Dzidzantún, his homeland, a bust was unveiled on February 2, 1989.

All of the above can perhaps be considered as an inheritance that "Pepe Domínguez" leaves to these composers who perhaps were inspired by listening to his most beautiful songs, they should be considered as a cultural heritage of this beautiful land where he was born. As fate would have it, he passed away in Havana, Cuba, on January 11, 1950. The artistic society "Ricardo Palmerín" arranged for his body to be transferred to Yucatán, to be watched over in the premises of the society "La Unión" and buried in the General Cemetery of the city of Mérida.

On January 14, 1962, his mortal remains were transferred to the monument by the creators of the Yucatecan Song. Since 1979 his oil portrait, which adorns this article, is part of the gallery of composers of the museum of the Yucatecan Song. In the year 2000, as part of the festivities for the centennial of his birth, husband and wife Beatriz Heredia and Rafael de Pau published a book entitled: "Pepe Domínguez", a pillar of Yucatecan song.

With his death, one of the most genuine representatives of the Yucatecan song disappears. He was an example of a tireless creator, in love with good ideals, a hard-working forger of new values with a fixed and indeclinable idea, when he surpassed a goal, he was ready for a new one with renewed energy, in pursuit of new awards. Dzidzantún feels proud of this famous composer and singer who crossed the borders of the country carrying the music of the Yucatecan trova. It considers him as its favorite son and pays tribute to him every February 11 for his death and July 16 for his birthday.

Source: La voz de Motul