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    Agustin Lara: A Cultural Biography

    By: Andrew Grant Wood

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    Few Mexican musicians in the twentieth century achieved as much notoriety or had such an international impact as the popular singer and songwriter Agustin Lara (1897-1970). Widely known as el flaco de oro (the Golden Skinny), this remarkably thin fellow was prolific across the genres of bolero, ballad, and folk. His most beloved Granada, a song so enduring that it has been covered by the likes of Mario Lanza, Frank Sinatra, and Placido Domingo, is today a standard in the vocal repertory. However, there exists very little biographical literature on Lara in English. In Agustin Lara: A Cultural Biography, author Andrew Woods informed and informative placement of Laras work in a broader cultural context presents a rich and comprehensive reading of the life of this significant musical figure. Laras career as a media celebrity as well as musician provides an excellent window on Mexican society in the mid-twentieth century and on popular culture in Latin America. Wood also delves into Laras music itself, bringing to light how the composers work unites a number of important currents in Latin music of his day, particularly the bolero. With close musicological focus and in-depth cultural analysis riding alongside the biographical narrative, Agustin Lara: A Cultural Biography is a welcome read to aficionados and performers of Latin American musics, as well as a valuable addition to the study of modern Mexican music and Latin American popular culture as a whole.

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