Consuelo Velázquez-Torres (August 21, 1916 – January 22, 2005), popularly also known as Consuelito Velázquez, was a Mexican concert pianist, songwriter and recording artist. She was born at Ciudad Guzmán Zapotlán el Grande in Jalisco, Mexico, though some sources list her birth date as August 29, 1924. Velázquez is said to have begun playing the piano at the age of four. When she was four years of age, her family moved to Guadalajara. At that time she began to demonstrate a good ear and great aptitudes for music, so when she was only six years old she began studying music and piano at the Serratos Academy in Guadalajara. After nine years of study, she moved to Mexico City, where she continued with her studies and obtained the degree of concert pianist and music teacher. Her degree concert took place at the Palace of Fine Arts of the capital and soon after she started as a popular music composer. As a classical music concert pianist, she was a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra (Mexico) and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the National Autonomous University of Mexico .
Velázquez was the songwriter and lyricist of many Spanish standard songs, and as a composer her legacy has been most noteworthy. Her first compositions, “Do not ever ask me,” “Pasional,” and “Let me love you,” were of a romantic nature. The best known success was Bésame mucho , a bolero composed when she was only 16 years old. This romantic ballad was an enduring 1940s-era standard which was soon recorded by artists around the globe, making it an international hit. After it was recorded by the Spanish-Mexican baritone Emilio Tuero, in 1944 Valezquez made the first adaptation in English language for the famous American singer Nat “King” Cole. From then on, it was performed by hundreds of artists around the world, such as Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra, Sammy Davis Jr., Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Ray Conniff and his Orchestra, Andrea Bocelli, and Frank Sinatra. Bésame mucho is also known as Kiss Me Much, Kiss Me a Lot , Kiss Me Again and Again , Embrasse-Moi, and Stale Ma Boskavaj . Translated into more than 20 languages, the song became an icon in popular music. It was especially popular in the United States with women who waited for their husbands in World War II. The Beatles famously performed it as a part of their January 1, 1962, studio audition for Decca executives
Other Velszquez songs include Amar y vivir” (“To Love and to Live”), “Verdad amarga” (“Bitter Truth”), “Franqueza,” “Que seas feliz,” “Abuela abuela ,” “Cachito,” “Enamorada,” “Chiqui,” “Que be feliz,” “Proud and pretty,” and “I was not” ( a dance song popularized initially by Pedro Infante and, in years recent, by Pedro Fernández). Velázquez participated as an actress in the 1938 Argentine film Nights of Carnival directed by the filmmaker Julio Saraceni. She also participated as a pianist in the Mexican films of the director Julián Soler, “He passed his hand” of 1952 and “My parents divorced” of 1959. In addition, she appeared in the documentary about her life Consuelo Velázquez of 1992. Throughout her life, he composed music for several Mexican films.
According to Velázquez herself, she was strongly influenced by Spanish composer Enrique Granados. After the beginning of her career, Velázquez married the media owner and promoter of artists, Mariano Rivera Conde who died in 1977, and they had children Mariano and Sergio Rivera Velázquez. In 1977, she received the Peace Medal of the United Nations, along with her colleagues, Master Ramón Inclán Aguilar, journalist and singer Wilbert Alonzo Cabrera, Lola Beltrán, and María Medina. This medal was given to them by the U.N. Secretary General due to their artistic participation and organization of a sumptuous Mexican festival on the occasion of the United Nations staff day. Velázquez also was elected to the Mexican Congress, and in the period between 1979 and 1982 she was part of the Chamber of Deputies of the Congress of the Union.
Velázquez won the National Prize for Science and Arts in the area of Popular Arts and Traditions in 1989. Alsoshe served as president for SACM (Society of Authors and Composers of Mexico), and she was vice-president of CISAC (International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies). In 2003, sculptor Sergio Peraza immortalized Velázquez with a Mexico City statue. Her last artistic performance was as a pianist on an album by Mexican singer Cecilia Toussaint entitled Para mi … Consuelo , which contains songs by Velázquez. Velázquez remained in the hospital after she suffered a fall in November 2004. Affected by cardiovascular disease, she died on January 22, 2005, in Mexico City, Mexico, of respiratory problems. According to her obituary, she was 88 years old when she died. Her body was transferred to the Palace of Fine Arts, scene of her first presentation. Her ashes were then buried in the Santo Tomás Moro church, where the author went every Sunday to hear the mass. She lleft seven unpublished songs, among them Donde siempre (dedicated to Cecilia Toussaint), Mi bello Mazatlán (to be recorded by the Banda El Recodo ) and Por el camino (bequeathed the Mexican singer Luis Miguel) .
My collection includes the following work by Consuelo Velasquez-Torres:
Besame Mucho (1940).