|Also known as||El Monumental|
May 9, 1939|
|Died||November 8, 1969
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer, composer, director|
|Associated acts||Cardenales del Éxito
Ricardo José Aguirre González, (Maracaibo, 9 May 1939 – 8 November 1969), was a Venezuelan folk musician and Gaita zuliana singer and composer. He was known as the Monumental de la Gaita (Gaita Monumental) or "El padre de la gaita" (The Father of Gaita) since he composed "La grey zuliana", one of the most popular Venezuelan gaita songs ever composed.
His parents were Luisángel Aguirre and Ida Cira Gonzalez. He began his elementary education at a small private school, then continued to study in two public schools. His secondary education was interrupted by political turmoil caused by popular pressure against the dictatorship of General Marcos Pérez Jiménez. After the dictatorship ended in 1958, the future interpreter went to the town of Rubio in the border state of Táchira, seizing an opportunity to become a schoolteacher. He then attended Gervasio Rubio high school. After receiving a degree as a teacher at age 19, he taught at the Monseñor Francisco A. Granadillo school, while serving as an announcer on the radio station La Voz de la Fe.
While he was studying to become a teacher, he learned to play the guitar, piano, and other instruments, outcropping his composer vein in the genre of gaita zuliana. He became a member of different musical groups, and performed in musicals and theatrical plays. He began by being director of the gaita zuliana groups Los Sabrosos y Santa Canoíta. In 1962, he initially joined the group named Cardenales with his three brothers Alves, Rixio and Renato. After a division within the group, Ricardo Aguirre proposed an addition to the name and the suggestion was accepted, consequently naming the group Los Cardenales del Éxito, the name which the group still uses today.
In 1967, due to differences among members, he left and joined the group Saladillo, where he composed the song critical to centralism, La Grey Zuliana. Aguirre stayed and recorded for two years (1967 and 1968) with the group. He later returned to Los Cardenales del Éxito where he recorded another album.
His musical career ended abruptly on November 8, 1969, when a tragic accident on 8th Street in Maracaibo claimed the life of who until today has been one of the biggest icons of Zulian regionalism.
On November 4, 1983 the then-Governor of Zulia State, Humberto Fernández Auvert, issued a decree officially declaring November 8 as El Día de los Gaiteros in memory of the unfortunate date when this outstanding figure of the Zulian music died.
Origin of his artistic name
Lawyer Octavio Urdaneta, who was a friend of the artist, on one occasion decided to call Aguirre "The Monumental" without much thought. Later, Aguirre was called that to justify his quality performance as a singer and musician, someone with a powerful voice and simple personality.