Don Francisco Y Sus Amigos / Don Francisco

Mi Homenaje Gigante a la Musica Norteña

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Mario Kreutzberger, aka Don Francisco, has become one of the most ubiquitous figures on Spanish-language television. From Don Francisco Presenta and the ultra-popular Sabado Gigante to a sea of commercials, Francisco's face is all over the Univision network in the United States as well as Univision's counterparts throughout Latin America. How much clout does Francisco enjoy in the Spanish-speaking world? Let's put it this way: when President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry were battling for the White House in 2004, ABC newsman Peter Jennings reported that both of them wanted to get on Sabado Gigante in the hope of wooing Latino voters. So Univision Records knew exactly what they were doing by releasing this norteño CD under Francisco's name -- even though Mi Homenaje Gigante a la Música Norteña isn't strictly a Don Francisco album. Actually, this 2004 release is really a compilation; Francisco does his share of singing, but there is a long list of other well-known participants which include Bronco, Jenni Rivera, Conjunto Primavera, los Huracanes del Norte, los Tigres del Norte and Polo Urias (among others). And the fact that Francisco, unlike most or all of the other artists, isn't Mexican makes things all the more intriguing; it isn't every day that one hears a Chilean/South American accent prominently featured on a norteño disc. Hearing Francisco performing norteño music on an album with so many Mexican stars is sort of like hearing an American country singer traveling to Dublin to record a Celtic project with major Irish performers -- it's usual, certainly, but unusual in a good way. Besides, if a Scottish salsa band called Salsa Celtica can win over Cuban salseros, there's no reason why a Chilean icon cannot oversee an obviously heartfelt tribute to Mexican norteño music. Mi Homenaje Gigante a la Música Norteña is well worth obtaining if one is seeking something enjoyably unorthodox from norteño.

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