MEXICO CITY – Composer Roberto Cantoral, creator of such celebrated numbers as “El Reloj” (The Watch), “La Barca” (The Boat) and “El Preso Numero 9” (Prisoner No. 9), died over the weekend in Mexico, the Mexican Society of Composers and Authors, or SACM, said. He was 75.
Cantoral composed “a great many songs that mark an era in Mexican pop music,” the Mexican National Arts and Culture Council, or Conaculta, said.
Cantoral, whose songs helped immortalize such singers as Placido Domingo, Joan Baez, Jose Feliciano, Lucho Gatica, Los Panchos, Olga Guillot and Luis Miguel, died of a heart attack in Toluca.
The composer won numerous awards, including three Hollywood Golden Discs for “El Reloj”, “La Barca” and “El Triste” (Sad Fellow), a Golden Guitar in Pesaro, Italy, for “Noche No Te Vayas” (Night, Don’t Go), and Mexico’s Medal of Merit, Conaculta said.
The council, which serves as Mexico’s culture ministry, said that on Nov. 4, 2009, Cantoral was honored with the Trustees Award of the Latin Recording Academy, which he received in the context of the 10th Latin Grammy Awards ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Cantoral, born in 1935 in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas state, launched his career in 1950 together with his brother Antonio.
Later he formed the popular trio Los Tres Caballeros with Chamin Correa and Leonel Galvez, which popularized songs composed by Cantoral such as “La Barca,” “El Reloj,” and many others in the melodic era of Mexican romantic songs.
Numbers like “Te Perdono” (I Pardon You), “Vete con Ella” (Go with Her), “Que Lo Decida el Cielo” (Let Heaven Decide) were by Cantoral, who also composed “Soy Lo Prohibido” (I’m the Forbidden One) with Dino Ramos.
Outstanding among artists who performed his songs were Placido Domingo, Joan Baez, Jose Jose, Jose Feliciano, Sara Montiel, Lucho Gatica, Chucho Ferrer, the Los Calavera trio, Los Diamantes and Los Panchos.
Others who sang or played his music included Richard Clayderman, Lucia Mendez, Olga Guillot, Marco Antonio Muñiz and Luis Miguel.
In 1971 he was the winner at the Ibero-American Television Organization festival, or OTI, with the song “Yo No Voy a la Guerra” (I’m Not Going to War), and walked off with the same prize two years later with “Quijote.”
During his career he also composed music for telenovelas that included “El Derecho a Nacer” (The Right to be Born) and “Pacto de Amor” (Love Pact).
The composer was the father of actress Itati Cantoral, and was honorary lifetime president of the SACM Board of Directors. EFE