Hear Songs, Stories of Lalo Guerrero, the Father of Chicano Music, at the Archives Bazaar

USC Libraries

Hear Songs, Stories of Lalo Guerrero, the Father of Chicano Music, at the Archives Bazaar

LALO GUERRERO was born in Tucson, Arizona on a cold Christmas Eve in 1916. An early love for music would take him far, learning to play the guitar when he was just nine years old. His mother was his first and only music teacher.

Guerrero became internationally recognized as the “Father of Chicano Music” in a career that spanned generations. He was a great entertainer and he took his guitar and music everywhere – the White House, a neighbor’s house, a concert hall or a classroom. It was all the same to him. Lalo wanted to make people happy and his hermanos/brothers proud of their Mexican heritage.

His corridos told stories of the struggles and triumphs of Mexican-American heroes from Cesar Chavez to Ruben Salazar. His boleros/ballads brought tears and his comic songs, laughter. He often said, “I only wrote about what I saw.”  

Doing just that, he became the musical historian of his beloved Chicano culture.

His honors were many including an NEA National Heritage Fellowship (1991), National Folk Treasure, Smithsonian Institution (1980), Tejano Music Hall of Fame (1992), California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President’s Award (1996), the Alma Award (1998) and invitations to the Jimmy Carter and George Bush White House. In 1997, President Bill Clinton presented the troubadour with the National Medal of Arts, the first Chicano ever to receive our nation’s highest arts award.

Guerrero continued to entertain to standing ovations only months before his guitar was silenced on March 17, 2005 at the age of eighty-eight.

DAN GUERRERO, who will share stories and clips of Lalo at the 6th-annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, is an award-winning television and live event producer and director. His credits include nationally-aired music and award show specials for both English and Spanish-language television, and live concert and theatrical events prestigious venues including the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for the Los Angeles Opera. The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the Cite de la Musique in Paris, France.

He also produced a documentary on his late father, Chicano music legend Lalo Guerrero, that aired nationally on PBS stations and has screened at film festivals throughout the U.S. and Latin America. 

Dan has been twice honored by the distinguished Imagen Foundation for bringing positive Latino images to the screen and Hispanic Magazine recognized him as one of the “25 most powerful Hispanics in Hollywood."

Click here for a full schedule of Archives Bazaar programming.

Photo: Lalo Guerrero in zoot suit, taken by Luther Guzman