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article imageEduardo Gameros of pioneering Mexican country band Caballo Dorado Special

By Adrian Peel     Nov 18, 2015 in Music
Revered throughout Latin America and beyond for their ever-popular, era-defining Spanish language version of "Achy Breaky Heart," this Mexican musical institution have been going strong for nearly 30 years. Digital Journal met the group's oldest member.
Eduardo Gameros, better known as "Lalo," formed Caballo Dorado with his brothers Gustavo and Gerardo and with their friends Freddy and Jorge Navarro (also brothers) in Chihuahua in 1986. After a few years spent 'finding their feet' musically and struggling to secure a record deal, the band - who are still together with their original lineup intact - put out their debut album Carretera 54 in 1994.
Alongside some solid self-written material on that first official release was a cover version of an ubiquitous classic that would quickly elevate the then-largely unknown quintet to superstar status. The song remains an insanely popular line dancing anthem - instantly familiar to millions of partygoers all over Mexico - that even today is a guaranteed dancefloor-filler whenever and wherever it's played.
That song is "No Romas Mas Mi Pobre Corazon" - "Achy Breaky Heart" in Spanish - and if you've ever been to a wedding, birthday party, Christening, etc. in Mexico, chances are you've heard it. I began by asking Lalo what he and his cohorts have been up to of late.
"Well earlier this year we released a new album called Somos Heroes (We are Heroes), the 18th CD of our nearly 30-year career," he replies, coming to me from Chihuahua, Chihuahua. "We've also been doing concerts all over the country and were recently in Zacatecas and Saltillo and then in Hermosillo two days ago.
"Tomorrow we're off to Villahermosa, Tabasco. After that we're going to the United States and then Coahuila and then to the State of Mexico and Puebla. We finish off the year in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco."
Discussing the popularity of country music in his homeland and commenting on how things have changed since Caballo Dorado embarked on their cultural voyage of discovery all those years ago, the singer and fiddle player muses, "I think its popularity has grown... In August next year we'll celebrate our 30th anniversary, but it took many years of knocking on doors before we were able to record an album.
"Miraculously, we went to play in Monterrey and it was there that a record company gave us a chance. We had been promoting country music in Spanish all over Mexico, Latin America and to our countrymen living in the United States. It was a difficult and lonely struggle, but afterwards many other groups followed in our footsteps.
 Somos Heroes
"Somos Heroes"
Eduardo Gameros
"Little by little country music has become more popular and there are more acts taking it to new generations. We have tried to help out newer country groups with songs, production, etc. to try and make it easier for them. With all the experience we have, we are happy to give help and advice."
Two of the newer purveyors of Mexican country music are 8 Segundos and Forasteros Country Band, from Ciudad Juarez and Hermosillo respectively, and representatives from both camps have spoken highly of Caballo Dorado, the band that has done more than anyone to popularise country music south of the border.
"All of these groups started out, to a greater or lesser extent, as fans of Caballo Dorado," observes the 50-year-old musician, a former bull rider, "and we're very grateful for that because it helps us enjoy a more fulfilling career. Unfortunately, the way the music industry is now there isn't much support for newer bands, so we try to share our knowledge and experience.
"Country music didn't really exist in Mexico 20 years ago and we were the ones who introduced it. It's not part of our culture. Here people tend to listen to norteƱo, corridos, mariachi... but now there isn't a party anywhere in Mexico where they don't play 'No Rompas Mas...' or 'Payaso de Rodeo.' That for us is better than any award - it's what we appreciate most.
"It's taken us many years to earn the affection of the Mexican people and I'm sure it won't be long before more people here start listening to country music. We have a great culture and I think it's not difficult to absorb something that doesn't belong to us.
"The music is from the United States and we're presenting it to the Mexican people. Rock 'n' roll and jazz weren't ours either, but I think music has no boundaries and nor should it. Mexico is a country full of very intelligent, very creative people open to new styles."
Most of the band's songs are originals ("Un Chico Loco," "La Culebra," "Cinco Muchachos Vaqueros" and "California" are a few of my favourites) and the hardworking five-piece have deservedly had a long and fruitful career, touring the US more than 20 times and winning a slew of industry awards, including a Latin Grammy in 2009 for their album 15 x 22.
I wondered which of their tracks, apart from the aforementioned "No Rompas Mas..." and "Payaso de Rodeo," tend to get the best reception when performed live.
"There are many," admits Lalo. "For example 'Siempre Te Amare,' which is a romantic song, 'Amargo Como El Cafe,' 'Un Chico Loco,' 'Solo Contigo,' 'Arriba y Abajo,' which is one that people like to dance to...
"What we do in our show is perform a little bit from each of our albums because that's what people know. In two hours we take audiences on a musical journey through our history."
Caballo Dorado's latest album Somos Heroes can be purchased here.
For more information on this great band, visit their official Facebook page.
More about eduardo gameros, caballo dorado, Achy Breaky Heart, mexican country music, 8 segundos
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