Alberto García Ibarra, ‘Chencho’, music promoter: “I rejected Peso Pluma and I would do it again” | Culture

Alberto García Ibarra, ‘Chencho’, music promoter: “I rejected Peso Pluma and I would do it again” | Culture
Alberto García Ibarra, ‘Chencho’, music promoter: “I rejected Peso Pluma and I would do it again” | Culture

The entire music world in America knows Chencho. Alberto García Ibarra (Guadalajara, 73 years old) is a factotum of the popular industry in Mexico and also an expert in coachingauthor of the manual The tail wags the dog (Half Moon). Los Tigres del Norte or Enrique Iglesias have passed through his hands, but also groups like Los cadetes de Linares, a true ranchera phenomenon. Today they continue to call him to accompany emerging figures and he has the luxury of saying no to some, like Peso Pluma, because he does not feel at all comfortable with his aggressive music.

Ask. To begin with, what differentiates your wisdom for the coaching of others?

Answer. I believe that the art of the pause. That’s what I add to what started as a leg of emotional intelligence. Focus on the facts before launching into them in an action-reaction dynamic. The key is for the dog to wag its tail and not for the tail to wag the dog, which is what happens to us these days.

Q. What differentiates man from animals is precisely the ability to tell stories to each other. But you say that is also what limits us.

R. Completely! They generate assumptions that prevent us from seeing the facts. An interpretation, a deception. When an emotion invades us, we must analyze the events that cause it. Stop there and act later or simply do nothing. Most of the time they are our mistakes, if we analyze them deeply.

Alberto García Ibarra, ‘Chencho’, music producer and coach, at the doors of the Wizink Center, in Madrid, on April 4, 2024.Samuel Sanchez

Q. Did you already learn all this, emotional intelligence and the art of survival, as a child on the street, when you earned a living with your violin?

R. When I started reading Goleman, the father of emotional intelligence, I realized that I had already applied much of that to life since I was a child. Necessity led me to that.

Q. Because?

R. At the age of ten I was already playing as a violinist in a mariachi band in a neighborhood of musicians in Guadalajara from which great figures have emerged, San Andrés. I lived in a private place, Lagunitas, that wasn’t even paved. We were eight brothers and my dad was a bricklayer. Too humble people.

Q. How did you learn to play?

R. My grandfather taught me and gave me teachers from a very young age. He put together a children’s mariachi, Los toritos, he gave my brother the trumpet and me the violin. He dedicated many hours to rehearsal.

For a country like Mexico, mariachi is the heart that moves it. When you listen to that music, you forget about our troubles

Q. What does mariachi mean to you?

R. At that time, survival and, therefore, a blessing. Now I look at my grandchildren that age and wonder how I got through that. For a country like Mexico, mariachi is the heart that moves it. When you listen to that music, you forget about our troubles.

Q. Or you remember it, with the lyrics, as in the case of Los Tigres del Norte.

R. Exactly, they are his spokespersons. I discovered them 45 years ago for Mexico, but before that Arthur Walker had released them in the United States within his Discos Fama company. At that time I was already working with my record label, Cronos, from Guadalajara. He was 24 years old.

Q. Did you already know the business well?

R. At that age I was already singing to drunks, to lovers, I absorbed strong emotions. So the songs he released hit and hit, they connected with people. That, to this day, is still my strength in the music industry.

The Mexican producer Alberto García Ibarra, in Madrid.Samuel Sanchez

Q. And that’s how you saw that both Los Tigres del Norte and Enrique Iglesias, whom you also launched, would work?

R. Yes, but first people like Los cadetes de Linares, who are the ones who have sold the most albums of all the artists I have produced. They sang rancheras of those that smell, with a liquorish voice and the aroma of dung… We placed orders for half a million records per fortnight. Sometimes we couldn’t cope. Money poured into vinyl and cassettes with six factories across the country in a span of two years. That was the level of the group.

Q. And what about people now as controversial as Featherweight?

R. I didn’t want to promote it. I would do it again. I don’t like. He became a phenomenon, I know, all over the world, but his voice and his style speak of dirty things, rebellious with life. I don’t delete the recording in which I say I don’t want to because I presume to have made a mistake. I didn’t want to move it. It was a moral decision due to its aggressive, offensive lyrics, which praise drug traffickers when they are destroying a country, contrary to what Los Tigres did…

Q. Well, to many it seems that they are also elevated.

R. They tell their stories, but they do not defend them. They are mere chroniclers. They tell the stories of immigrants and their suffering, they narrate realities. It is very different.

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