Carlos Miranda is A Walking Miracle
Photos by Ramón Hernández/Hispanic Entertainment Archives
Don’t listen to any of the rumors and don’t give up on Carlos Miranda because El Minero de Nueva Rosita is a fighter.
“Todavia tengo el gusanito de cantar” (“I still have the bug to sing”), the singer-songwriter said during an interview at the Trisun Care Center on Lakeside Parkway.
Miranda was born on October 11, 1939 in a ranch in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila, Mexico. However, his parents did not register him at the court house until March 11, 1940. This is the reason some bios state one birthday and others his real date of birth. So he is 72 or 73 depending on which birth certificate you cite.
Shortly after entering the United States through Eagle Pass, Texas in 1961, he joined Joey López y Los Guadalupanos, which also featured Mingo Saldivar on accordion. In the mid-1960s, he joined Los Pavos Reales featuring María Elena Castañon as the female vocalist.
By the mid ‘70s, Miranda had achieved musical idol status and women would scream their lungs out at the mere mention of his name and when he stepped in front of the microphone, women stampeded their way to the stage in Chicago and San Nicholas de La Garza, Nuevo León.
It was during this period that Miranda performed at the Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles, El Aragon in Chicago plus four Mexican states and in states such as Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington where few Tejanos fail to venture to in this day and age.
After the success of “Necesito Hablar Con Dios,” “Mi Piquito de Oro” and ‘Junta Tus Garras,” the latter two hits on Freddie Records, he went from sharing the stage with Little Joe, Sunny and the Sunliners, Alfonso Ramos, Roy Montelongo, Conjunto Bernal, Rudy and the Reno Bops and José Alfredo Jiménez to opening for Vicente Fernández Javier Solís, Yolanda Del Rios, Los Bukis and Julio Iglesias.
In 1986, Miranda reunited with Manny Guerra and recorded “Fuimos Dos,” a duet album with Laura Canales. The hits continued through the ‘90s with “El Minero” for CBS Records followed by “El Reniego” for RP/Discos Sony.
In 2008, Pablo Montero recorded the Miranda penned “Mi Piquito De Oro.” The following year Montero filmed the video for it and the tune was also featured in “Olivadarte Jamás,” a telenovela on Univision. Today one can find at least four of Montero’s versions on You Tube plus one by Ramón Ayala y Los Bravos Del Norte.
In September 2010, when this writer visited Miranda at his Seguin, Texas home, his wife, Bertha Carrillo Miranda, revealed that physicians had diagnosed him with lung, prostrate and colon cancer in December of 2008; and he was undergoing bi-monthly chemo-therapy treatments that sapped the energy out of him, yet he continued to tour.
During that interview Miranda said, “You can die at home, on the road, on stage, anywhere. And I know that I’m going to die, but I’m not going to stay home and wait to die. Although the chemo is painful, it does not affect my strength and hitting the road to tour gives me more courage because the road is my personal therapy.”
Miranda continued to tour and in doing so became a walking miracle because he surpassed the life expectancy that doctors had predicted.
A good example of the multi-awards winning singer-songwriter tenacity and joy of life is in the “Pepe El Dulce” video he filmed a couple of months before he was diagnosed with cancer. Just go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqbrfVFHP88 to witness his animated vocal/dancing performance.
In 2011, along with Freddie Martínez, Sunny Ozuna, Augustine Ramírez and Joe Bravo, the 2000 Tejano Music Hall of Fame inductee became a part of The Legends Dream Team compact disc. This is the same year that he re-recorded “Junta Tus Garras,” which he co-wrote with Carlos Cardenas, as a duet with Carlitos, his youngest son, and it became a runaway hit.
The Nueva Rosita-native will also be glad to hear what Marc Martínez, the vice president and national director of promotions for Freddie Records had to say on Monday, January 21.
“Next on our list of honorees for a ‘Star’ on the Freddie Records Walk of Fame in front of our building is Carlos Miranda and his ‘star’ will be unveiled within the next four months.”
What is odd is that in spite of all the accolades, the one recognition that has evaded this 72-year-old living legend is induction into the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame. But induction also eluded Mario Vásquez, the musician that went down in history and has been acknowledged by scholars as “the first to play drums in a conjunto” in what began as an experiment by Valerio Longoria.
What also does not make sense is that artists in their thirties and forties have been inducted. Why they were not even born when the roots were sprouting and these pioneers blazed the trail during the 1940s to early 1960s. So there’s something wrong with this picture. Enough said.
Getting back to Miranda’s health, according to Irene, his youngest daughter, doctors recently performed surgery to fix his intestines, which were pushed out of their normal position by the large mass in his body and that mass has grown even more since then.
During the week of January 20, physicians put him back on chemo in order to shrink the mass, “but this time it’s in the form of a pill,” Miranda said.
“This is the only thing that is dragging me down, but I believe in Jesus Christ and each night I pray to God for all that are sick, especially the kids.
“Peace and happiness is the most beautiful thing there is and I pray that God give me more life because I want to go to churches to give my testimony, sing to Jesus Christ and record a Christian music album. However, God is the one that decides and if he is going to take me I’m ready. I’m saved and ready to go if it’s today, tomorrow or later,” Miranda said with a peaceful serene look on his face which gave way to a joyful smile and a twinkle in his eyes.
“Dios es muy grande and I’m happy that my children are all here.”
On this particular day, Carlos was surrounded by Juan Carlos, Imelda and Irene, the children from his first marriage, to Alicia, the only one absent was Cindy. Carlitos, from his second wife, Bertha, was also there.
Then, one by one, musician friends, Jay García of Crusader Band, David Escalante of City Boyz, Jess Aguilar of Los Fugitivos and Juan Pérez trickled in. Miranda had invited them because he wanted to give an impromptu concert for the Trisun Care Center residents. So everyone went to the large rec room where Miranda led the musicians in singing “Mi Piquito De Oro,” “Un Dia a La Vez,” “Un Puño De Tierra,” “La Mucura” and other tunes.
Asked for some parting words, Miranda said, “Saludos to all the musicians that played with me. God bless them and protect them on the road. Y saludos a toda la gente, take care of yourselves, believe in Jesus Christ and know that I take your love in my heart. Now all I can do is pray to God that I die without suffering and if there’s anything I wish for, is that someone would form an organization to help out musicians.
“I know it wasn’t easy for the families of Esteban Jordan and Cha Cha Jiménez because dying is not cheap. So there needs to be some form of helping the loved ones of those left behind with expenses.”
For those who heard recent hurtful ugly rumors about Miranda, the reason he moved out of his home and in with Jess Aguilar is so he could be closer to his physician and the clinic where he was receiving chemo therapy in Converse, Texas.
In closing, don’t count this 72-year-old musical institution out because Miranda is a fighter. He has proven doctors wrong several times and I’m sure this won’t be the last. When you believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, all things are possible with God, amen.