Alejandro Fernandez: The controversial ranchera ‘Matalas’ changes its lyrics: it removes the “dagger” and the “gun” but keeps the “killer of women”

Alejandro Fernandez, interpreter of ‘Matalas’ at the Viña del Mar Festival on February 21.Adriana Thomasa (EFE)

Alejandro Fernández’s performance at the Viña del Mar Festival on 22 February again attracted controversy over the classic rancher “Matalas” for “apologizing for femicides”, as reported by Chile’s former Minister of Social Development, Carla Rubilar, and Chile was condemned. Network Against Violence. 20 years after its release, the composer of the song, Manuel Eduardo Toscano (Catemaco, Veracruz, 70 years old), assures in a telephone interview with EL Pas that he will change one of the most controversial verses of the song. but not all. The author confirms that the new version eliminates “the strong” but maintains the controversial allegory between death and love. “It will be officially recorded. I think it’s time to do it by putting a new part. I sent it to Alejandro as well [Fernández] ”, he tells this newspaper.

The controversies surrounding the song are centered in one of its verses at the top: If you want to enjoy her then take a gun, or if you want buy yourself a dagger and become a woman killer., “It was the composer’s fault, my server, but I already have a new verse,” he confesses, then prepares his voice, starting to sing a variation on one of his verses: If you want to enjoy her pleasures, try to please her in her desires, try to give her everything she wants and become a woman killer. Kill them with excess of tenderness..,

The author emphasizes that with the change he takes away “strength”, kills with a knife and a gun. But he defends that the words “kill ’em” – with which he tries to metaphorize the word “love” – should continue in the song. “Musicians always run like a radar looking for words and phrases. One day I heard someone say ‘I’ll squeeze you to death’. I thought something must be done that would kill in the sense of sweetness. Talking, hitting with caresses, and that’s where the topic started to arise”, he explains.

Gender Studies researcher at UNAM Amneris Chaparro affirms that the variation of the verses “does not alter the meaning of the song”. She states, “One singer is not going to cause a person to become a feminist, but these types of songs normalize a relationship of inequality and violence.” To understand the gravity of this generalization, the researchers also highlight the context of the current violence in Mexico. Every day 10 women die in the country due to murders that usually go unpunished.

Chaparro assures that a song that may appear innocuous or funny hides a meaning that may have another trend. “It also reflects the hegemonic and traditional male role represented by the character of domination, the practice of violence against women and against other men,” he explains.

Composer Manuel Eduardo Toscano poses for a portrait with Vicente Fernandez, father of Alejandro Fernandez.RR.SS.

This is not the first controversy related to kill, The song premiered in 2003, the violence that has rocked Ciudad Juárez since the late 1990s and has resulted in dozens of disappearances and murders of women in some areas of the state of Chihuahua, as it was banned, the musician remembers. We do. “Politicians conspire to believe that removing the song will no longer result in the disappearance of women. I wish it would happen, it would be a miracle”, he defended. In 2020, actress Angelica Aragon asked for the song to be stopped from being sung, as she believed it normalized violence. Potrillo, in which he changed “kill them” to “love them”. “I knew I was going to lose strength. The word is killing them, what had to be changed was poetry,” he defends.

Public outcries haven’t particularly affected the classic rancher, a potential apologist for feminism. In 2017, Cafe Tacuba, one of the most popular bands in Mexico, stopped playing ungrateful In his direct 1984 hit, one of his verses can be interpreted from that point of view: “That’s why now I gotta give you some pills drink’ It hurts you”.

Toscano believes that people have been in charge of turning the song into a classic, and believes that they have accepted and now know it for what it is. “There has always been a bit of controversy in my songs, it is part of the job. He also criticized me a lot for this bipedal rat Paquita la del barrio recorded”, she says, laughing again.

He wrote the lyrics for Vicente Fernandez. She was recorded singing it, but that first version has never come to light. “There it will continue, saved. Father’s love gave it to his son. Thus it came into the hands of Alejandro Fernandez. The composer still remembers a conversation he had with Vicente Fernández in a Palenque in Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz. There, the singer tells him that his son has already recorded it, and he laughs as he recalls what happened a few months later, when the song became a hit. ,DearIf I had known it was going to be a blockade, I would not have given it to Alejandro’s bastard, ”he says.

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