SAN ANGELO, Texas — A man brings the tradition of the Mexican charro to West Texas. He’s from Sabinas, Coahuila, MEX. Amanda Lozano went out to his ranch and found out the story of the music and radio career of Juan ‘El Charro’ Diaz.
“I wasn’t born in San Angelo, I’m from a land far away” are the first words to Juan ‘El Charro‘ Diaz’s song, “San Angelo.”
Originally from Mexico, Diaz began his musical career over sixty years ago in the state of Coahuila.
“In 1953, the owner of the radio station XEBX in Sabinas, Coahuila listened to me,” said Diaz.
Soon after, doors began opening for Diaz, who began singing on the radio and then at special events. According to Diaz, that’s when people began to recognize ‘El Charro.’
Diaz arrived to the United States from Mexico in 1964. He lived in San Angelo for a few years, while hosting a show on the radio station KSJT ‘La Grande’ and playing in a musical trio. Recalling those times, Diaz said him and the others he played with wanted to conquer San Angelo.
After some time, Diaz moved to San Antonio, where he recorded his first ten songs.
“Then I left to California. I recorded songs there, too. I was there with my family for a while before we returned to San Angelo,” added Diaz.
Over the years, Diaz has recorded over 50 original Mexican country songs, from ‘rancheras’ to ‘corridos.’ He writes his songs about the places, foods and people that make the Mexican culture. One of his most special songs is “San Angelo.”
“It’s about experiences, gratitude to the town, to the people. It’s about part of my life,” explained Diaz.
With his guitar in hand, Diaz humbly recognized his accomplishments as a musician.
“I’m not famous, but I do have a musical career. When I go home, they like to put me on magazines, in newspapers. They like listening to me. I’m actually playing for Sabinas’ Municipal President later this month,” said Diaz.
Over the years, Diaz hasn’t just received acknowledgments from his home country. A few years ago, Diaz received a recognition by then-mayor of the City of San Angelo, Dwain Morrison, for his musical career.
An inspiration to many, Diaz’s lyrics serve as a reminder to Mexican immigrants of where they came from and why they came to this country.
“I don’t want them to forget their roots,” explained Diaz.
Recently, Diaz celebrated his 86th birthday. After nearly 65 years of turning experiences, images and places into lyrics, he said he still has more in him and he doesn’t plan on putting his guitar away any time soon.
“As long as I have a voice and as long God allows me to, I’ll keep singing,” said Diaz.
We first came across the story of Juan ‘El Charro’ Diaz through a post by the Facebook page “San Angelo Hispanic Heritage Month.” You can view that post here.