Flor Silvestre in Ánimas Trujano (1962)
|Born||Guillermina Jiménez Chabolla
16 August 1930
Salamanca, Guanajuato, Mexico
|Residence||El Soyate, Villanueva, Zacatecas, Mexico|
|Years active||1943–present (singing)
Antonio Aguilar, hijo
|Relatives||La Prieta Linda (sister)
Mary Jiménez (sister)
|Awards||Eduardo Arozamena Medal|
Guillermina Jiménez Chabolla (born 16 August 1930), known by her stage name Flor Silvestre (Spanish pronunciation: [floɾ silˈβestɾe]) ("Wild Flower"), is a Mexican singer and actress whose multifaceted career spans more than seventy years in music, film, radio, television, and stage.
Famed for her melodious voice and unique singing style, hence the nicknames "La Sentimental" ("The Sentimental One") and "La Voz Que Acaricia" ("The Voice That Caresses"), Flor Silvestre is one of the most prominent performers of Mexican music, within the ranchera, bolero, bolero ranchero, and huapango genres. She has recorded more than 300 songs for three labels: Columbia, RCA Víctor, and Musart. In 1945, she was announced as the "Alma de la Canción Ranchera" ("Soul of Ranchera Song"), and in 1950, the year in which she emerged as a radio star, she was proclaimed the "Reina de la Canción Mexicana" ("Queen of Mexican Song"). In 1950, she signed a contract with Columbia Records and recorded her first hits, which include "Imposible olvidarte", "Que Dios te perdone", "Pobre corazón", "Viejo nopal", and "Guadalajara". In 1957, she began recording for Musart Records and became one of the label's exclusive artists with numerous best-selling singles, such as "Cielo rojo", "Renunciación", "Gracias", "Cariño santo", "Mi destino fue quererte", "Mi casita de paja", "Toda una vida", "Amar y vivir", "Gaviota traidora", "El mar y la esperanza", "Celosa", "Vámonos", "Cachito de mi vida", "Miel amarga", "Perdámonos", "Tres días", "No vuelvo a amar", "Las noches las hago días", "Estrellita marinera", and "La basurita", among others. She has sung on radio stations, stage plays, films, television programs, and was an equestrienne in her husband Antonio Aguilar's horse show.
Flor Silvestre appeared in more than seventy films between 1950 and 1990. Beautiful and statuesque, she became one of the leading stars of the "golden age" of the Mexican film industry. She made her acting debut in the film Primero soy mexicano (1950), directed by and co-starring Joaquín Pardavé. She played opposite famous comedians, such as Cantinflas in El bolero de Raquel (1957). Director Ismael Rodríguez gave her important roles in La cucaracha (1959), and Ánimas Trujano (1962), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. She was also the star of the comic book La Llanera Vengadora. In 2013, the Association of Mexican Cinema Journalists honored her with the Special Silver Goddess Award.
Guillermina Jiménez Chabolla was born on 16 August 1930, in Salamanca, Guanajuato, the daughter of Jesús Jiménez Cervantes and María de Jesús Chabolla Peña (c. 1907 – 5 September 1993). She is the third of seven children; her siblings are Francisco, Raquel, José Luis, Enriqueta, María de la Luz, and Arturo. Her maternal grandparents were Felipe Chabolla and Inés Peña.
As a young child, Silvestre showed a passionate interest in singing and acting; she participated in festivals and organized school plays. She completed primary school in Salamanca, and later moved to Mexico City, where she was enrolled in the Escuela Bancaria Comercial Milton.
Silvestre made her singing debut at the age of 13 in Mexico City; she sang the songs "La canción mexicana", "Yo también soy mexicana", and "El herradero" and received an ovation from the audience. Shortly after, she was invited to sing on the XFO radio station, where she sang "La soldadera" by popular songwriter Jesús Morales. Her first stage names were La Soldadera ("the female soldier"), based on the success of the aforementioned song, and La Amapola ("the poppy"), because an announcer told her that she looked "like a flower", until she was required to choose another name since those were already in use. She then chose Flor Silvestre ("wild flower"), the title of a 1943 drama film starring Dolores del Río, as her stage name.
In 1946, she was invited to perform at the inauguration of Guadalajara's Juárez movie theater. In the late 1940s, Silvestre won a singing contest sponsored by the XEW radio station which led to many contracts, including one for her to perform at the important Teatro Colonial, where she caught the attention of showmen who hired her for tours across northern Mexico and South America. Upon her return from those tours, she sang at El Patio, where she met producer Gregorio Walerstein, who invited her to participate in films. Her musical career in radio started to rise in 1950, as reporter Mónica Fio noticed:
We unreservedly commend the young singer "Flor Silvestre" because her radio career, though quick, is made with effort, perseverance and study. Whenever we hear her programs we confirm that she does not abandon herself to passing and easy successes, but seeks to overcome. This is how one reaches the goal. This is how one creates prestige. This is how one triumphs.
Silvestre made her acting debut alongside Joaquín Pardave, Luis Aguilar and fellow film newcomer Francisco Avitia, also a ranchera singer, in the comedy Primero soy mexicano (1950), a Walerstein production. She worked with Aguilar and Francisco Avitia again in El tigre enmascarado (1951). Around the same time, she signed a contract with Columbia Records (her first record label) and released the successful singles "Llorar amargo" and "Oye morena". She played the female lead in El lobo solitario, La justicia del lobo, and Vuelve el lobo (all in 1952). In 1955, she and Miguel Aceves Mejía starred the radio program Su programa Calmex, sponsored by Calmex Sardines.
Silvestre's first color film was Miguel M. Delgado's La doncella de piedra (1956). Her first film co-starring Antonio Aguilar, her future husband, was La huella del chacal (1956). She traveled to Nicaragua for Rapto al sol (1956), another color film. On Mother's Day 1957, she participated with great success in the television play Secreto de familia. One of her famous roles was as Leonor, the mother of Cantinflas' godson, in the popular Eastmancolor comedy El bolero de Raquel (1957). She received top billing for the first time in Pueblo en armas (1959) and its sequel ¡Viva la soldadera! (1960), both directed by Miguel Contreras Torres. She had a supporting role opposite María Félix in Ismael Rodríguez's Mexican Revolution epic La cucaracha (1959); she also sang "Te he de querer", "La chancla", and "La Valentina" for the film's soundtrack album, La cucaracha: Música de la película, released by Musart Records.
In the early 1960s, she starred with popular comedy duo Viruta and Capulina in Dos locos en escena (1960). Silvestre was cast along with Toshiro Mifune and Columba Domínguez in the award-winning film Ánimas Trujano (1962), another film directed by Ismael Rodríguez. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and contains her best known role among American and international audiences.
Cashbox ranked her among the top ten Mexican folk singers of 1964. In that same year, she released the album La sentimental included both ranchera and bolero songs; "Mi destino fue quererte", one of the album's ranchera tracks, became one of Silvestre's best-selling singles. In this decade, she would avert her roles from low-budget westerns and comedies to star in Mexican Revolution drama films starring her husband Antonio Aguilar, such as Caballo prieto azabache (1968), Lauro Puñales (1969),El ojo de vidrio (1969).
By the 1970s, Silvestre had created a symbolic persona of a folkloric woman-hero, therefore she became the star of a comic book entitled La Llanera Vengadora, which translates as "the avenging plainswoman," that used her likeness and name. The magazine featured a female hero who sought justice, and was dressed in brightly colored cowboy garb.
She made a cameo appearance as the singer Rafaela in Valente Quintero (1973), in which she sang "No me lo tomes a mal", and played the female lead in La yegua colorada (1973). Her next two films were historical dramas: she played Pancho Villa's lover in La muerte de Pancho Villa (1974) and the wife of Felipe Carrillo Puerto in Peregrina (1974). She sang "La palma" in Simón Blanco (1975) and played the female leads in Don Herculano enamorado (1975), El moro de cumpas (1977), and Mi caballo el cantador (1979). Her last soldadera role was featured in Benjamín Argumedo el rebelde (1979) and Persecución y muerte de Benjamín Argumedo (1980). Her last film was Triste recuerdo (1991).
On 21 December 2010, she released Soledad, an album dedicated to her late husband.
In 2016, she was featured on "Para morir iguales", a track of her son Antonio's most recent album, Caballo viejo.
Around 1953, Flor Silvestre married announcer and presenter Francisco Rubiales Calvo, whose stage name was "Paco Malgesto." They had two children, translator Francisco Rubiales and singer and actress Marcela Rubiales. The couple separated and began divorce proceedings in 1958.
Flor Silvestre's third and last husband was singer and actor Antonio Aguilar, who died in 2007. Aguilar was the love of her life. They first met each other in 1950 when he was invited to sing on her program Increíble pero cierto at the Verde y Oro studio of the XEW radio station in Mexico City. In 1955, they made their first film together, La huella del chacal, but their relationship began when they made the film El rayo de Sinaloa in 1957. They married in 1959 and had two sons, singers Antonio "Toño" Aguilar and José "Pepe" Aguilar.
Awards and honors
- In 1969, Musart Records awarded her The Golden Clover (Trébol de Oro) for being one of the company's best-selling artists.
- In 2001, the National Association of Actors awarded her the Eduardo Arozamena Medal for her 50-year career.
- In 2008, she was the grand marshal of the Comité Mexicano Cívico Patriótico's Mexican Independence Parade in Los Angeles, California.
- In 2010, the twenty-first edition of the World Mariachi Day (Día Mundial del Mariachi) awarded her the Pedro Infante Medal for her "outstanding work and dissemination of Mexican music".
- In 2012, the Confederation of Livestock Organizations awarded her a "bull sculpture" for her contribution to Mexican culture.
- In 2013, the Association of Mexican Cinema Journalists awarded her the Special Silver Goddess for her career. Mexican actor Ignacio López Tarso presented her with the award and said: "For me it is a great honor and personal satisfaction to give you this award, to a great figure of Mexican cinema who, either walking or on horseback, made the best movies of the Mexican film industry".
- In 2014, the Government of the State of Zacatecas paid tribute to her career and gave her a special accolade at the Teatro Calderón in the state capital as part of the First Corrido Festival.
- In 2015, while promoting the release of her documentary entitled Flor Silvestre: Su destino fue querer, she was honored in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco; Los Angeles, California; and Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes.
Flor Silvestre made her first recordings in 1950 for the Mexican Columbia label (Discos Columbia de México). In these recording sessions, she was backed up by the mariachis of Gilberto Parra and Rubén Fuentes. Ten of these recordings, which were originally released on 78 rpm singles, were included in the greatest hits album Flor Silvestre canta sus éxitos, released in 1964 by Columbia's subsidiary label Okeh. This compilation album was later remastered and reissued in digital format by Sony Music Entertainment México in 2016.
Flor Silvestre also recorded some songs for the RCA Víctor label in 1957. For this label, she recorded a single containing her first version of "Cielo rojo" on side A and "Que padré es la vida" on side B.
In 1957, Flor Silvestre signed a contract with the Musart label. Among her first recordings for Musart are the songs "Nuestro gran amor" and "Pajarillo de la sierra", included in the soundtrack album of the Heraclio Bernal films, and "Te he de querer", "La chancla", and "La Valentina", included in the soundtrack album for the film La cucaracha. In 1958, she released her first studio album for Musart, Flor Silvestre. Musart has more than 300 of Flor Silvestre's recordings, many of them available in digital format since 2008.
|Title||Release date||Record label||Catalog number|
|Flor Silvestre||c. 1959||Musart||481|
|Flor Silvestre (II)||c. 1963||771|
|Flor Silvestre, vol. 2||1964||871|
|La acariciante voz||1965||1071|
|Boleros rancheros con la acariciante voz||c. 1967||1212|
|Flor Silvestre, vol. 6||1967||1310|
|Flor Silvestre, vol. 7||1968||1390|
|Flor Silvestre, vol. 8||1968||1417|
|Amor, siempre amor||c. 1969||1470|
|Y las canciones de sus tríos favoritos||c. 1970||1511|
|Las noches las hago días||c. 1970||1519|
|Una gran intérprete y dos grandes compositores||c. 1972||1557|
|La voz que acaricia||1972||1571|
|Canciones con alma||1973||1602|
|La onda norteña||1973||1613|
|Con todo mi amor a mi lindo Puerto Rico||1974||1643|
|Arrullo de Dios||1977||1709|
|Ahora sí va en serio||1978||1742|
|No te pido más||1988||90018|
|Flor Silvestre con tambora||1991||90083|
|Me regalo contigo||1994||1076|
|Flor Silvestre con tambora (II)||2001||2422|
|Soledad: Canto a mi amado y a su recuerdo||21 December 2010||Green Dream||N/A|
|Title||Release date||Record label||Catalog number|
|Flor Silvestre canta sus éxitos||1964||Okeh||10016|
|Los éxitos de Flor Silvestre||1972||Musart||1591|
|El disco de oro de Flor Silvestre||1977||1719|
|15 éxitos, vol. 2||28 August 1997||137|
|15 grandes éxitos||30 December 1998||2048|
|Colección de oro: Flor Silvestre con mariachi||1 July 2003||2890|
|Mexicanísimo||2 June 2015||Sony Music Latin||5090642|
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