Lorenzo Barcelata (July 24, 1898 – July 13, 1943) was a Mexican composer and actor born in Tlalixcoyan, Veracruz. He died in Mexico City from cholera, shortly before his 45th birthday.
Barcelata came from a musically oriented family. He wrote his first song, "Arroyito", at the age of 14. He later moved to Tampico where he formed the quartet "Cuarteto Tamaulipeco", with composer Ernesto Cortázar. Their fame quickly spread throughout the region and they received international fame when the Mexican government sent them on a tour of Cuba. While there, they were signed to perform a 52-week tour of the United States. After two of the members were fatally injured in an automobile accident, Barcelata returned to Mexico. He reformed the quartet as his fame continued to grow. Beginning in 1932, he entered the Mexican film industry and became a prominent film composer until his death. He also achieved fame as an actor as he played roles in several films.
His most famous song is "María Elena", which was originally written for the First Lady of Mexico, the wife of president Emilio Portes Gil. Maria Elena was featured in the Mexican film by the same name. A version of it was also included on the soundtrack to the American film Bordertown. It was later translated into English and performed by the Lawrence Welk orchestra. Another English version was recorded by Jimmy Dorsey. Dorsey's version topped the charts in 1941. Wayne King also recorded an English version which reached the No.2 position during the week of June 14, runner-up only to the Dorsey version. A vocal version by Tony Pastor also reached the Top 10 during that month. Maria Elena has since been recorded internationally by several different musicians. In 1958, the Brazilian group Los Indios Tabajaras recorded a version that became popular throughout Latin America and later (in 1963) reached the No.6 position in the US charts & No.5 in the UK charts.
The popularity of Maria Elena in the US in the early-1940s resulted in Barcelata touring the country once again. He returned to Mexico in 1943 where he was scheduled to produce several radio programs. However, he died on July 13, before recording could begin. In total, he left behind a catalog of 214 songs, including Por ti aprendí a querer, and El Cascabel, among others.
A recording of "El Cascabel" was one of the pieces of music on the Voyager Golden Record. This version was a mariachi interpretation performed by Antonio Maciel y Las Aguilillas with El Mariachi México de Pepe Villa. The 12 inch album (complete with stylus, cartridge and instructions for use) which was launched into deep space aboard the Voyager space probes in the late 1970s.
Birth and Death Data: Born July 24th, 1898 (Tlalixcoyan), Died June 13th, 1943 (Mexico City)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928 - 1949
Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, vocalist, songwriter, lyricist, arranger, leader
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 126 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||BVE-48366||10-in.||2/14/1929||Coconito||Trío Garnica-Ascencio||Female vocal trio, with instrumental ensemble||composer|
|Victor||BVE-50803||10-in.||4/10/1929||Virgencita||Manuel García ; Ramón Peraza||Male vocal duet, with guitar||composer|
|Victor||BVE-50804||10-in.||4/10/1929||Una canción de mi vida||Manuel García ; Ramón Peraza||Male vocal duet, with guitar||composer|
|Victor||XVE-64783||10-in.||12/22/1930||El cascabel||Los Trovadores Tamaulipecos||Male vocal quartet, with violin and 2 guitars||arranger|
|Victor||XVE-67010||10-in.||12/30/1930||Flor de fuego||Los Trovadores Tamaulipecos||Male vocal quartet||composer|
|Victor||XVE-67091||10-in.||1/15/1931||La zandunga óaxaqueña||Los Trovadores Tamaulipecos||Male vocal quartet, with guitar and marimba||arranger|
|Victor||PBS-68430||10-in.||2/9/1933||La cachimba de San Juan||Carlos Molina Orchestra||Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal duet; with male vocal solo||composer|
|Victor||PBS-68657||10-in.||11/27/1933||Maria Elena||Cuates Castilla||Male vocal duet, with 2 violins and 2 guitars||lyricist, composer|
|Victor||BS-78249||10-in.||10/19/1933||Maria Elena||Alfredo Cibelli ; Orchestra Symphonica Victor de Baile||Orchestra||composer|
|Victor||BS-81626||10-in.||2/7/1934||Por ti aprendí a querer||Juan Arvizu||Tenor vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble||composer|
|Victor||BS-82382||10-in.||5/7/1934||María Elena||Lester Rodríguez||Accordion solo||composer|
|Victor||BS-82384||10-in.||5/7/1934||Coconita||Lester Rodríguez||Accordion solo||composer|
|Victor||BVE-82703||10-in.||3/29/1934||Maria Elena||Ben Martínez ; Félix Tamez||Male vocal duet, with 2 guitars||lyricist, composer|
|Victor||MBS-90611||10-in.||Feb. 1936 or earlier||De mañana en adelante||Mariachi Tapatío||Instrumental ensemble||composer|
|Victor||MBS-90612||10-in.||Feb. 1936 or earlier||La iguana||Mariachi Tapatío||Instrumental ensemble||composer|
|Victor||MBS-90613||10-in.||Feb. 1936 or earlier||La madrugada||Mariachi Tapatío||Instrumental ensemble||composer|
|Victor||MBS-90672||10-in.||Mar. 1936 or earlier||Bamba||Rafael Hernández ; Orquesta del Grillon||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||MBS-90673||10-in.||Mar. 1936 or earlier||El chinchorro||Rafael Hernández ; Orquesta del Grillon||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||MBS-90721||10-in.||July 1936 or earlier||Flor de fuego||Las Dos Marías||Female vocal duet, with instrumental ensemble||composer|
|Victor||MBVE-90769||10-in.||Before 10/26/1936||La chata malora||Las Dos Marías||Female vocal duet, with guitars||composer|
|Victor||MBS-90838||10-in.||before 1/7/1937||Una canción de mi vida||Las Dos Marías||Female vocal duet||composer|
|Victor||MBS-90858||10-in.||before 3/25/1937||Errante||Orquesta Alfonso Esparza Oteo ; Emilio Tuero||Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble||composer|
|Victor||MBS-90882||10-in.||before 2/9/1937||El caballo palomo||Los Chinacos||Male vocal ensemble||composer|
|Victor||MBS-90964||10-in.||before 8/23/1937||Presumida||Los Chinacos||Male vocal ensemble||composer|
|Victor||BAVE-93158||10-in.||Between 4/23/1936 and 5/7/1936||María Elena||Juan Arvizu||Male vocal solo, with violin and guitars||composer|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Barcelata, Lorenzo," accessed April 16, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106695.
Barcelata, Lorenzo. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106695.
"Barcelata, Lorenzo." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 16 April 2021.
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