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Lisandro Meza, One of the Biggest Names in Colombian Music, Dies at 86

Lisandro Meza, one of the biggest names in Colombian music, died on Saturday (Dec. 23) at the age of 86, almost three weeks after being hospitalized due to a stroke, informed the Specialized Clinic La Concepción in Sincelejo, in his native state of Sucre, Colombia, where he was.

“La Concepción regrets to report the sensitive death of maestro Lisandro Meza Márquez, minstrel of sabanera music, cumbia, porro, vallenato and disseminator of Colombian music to the world,” the clinic said in a statement signed by its manager, Guillermo Ruiz.

Meza’s family confirmed the passing of their “pillar” on the singer’s official account on X (formerly Twitter,) saying that “his love, wisdom and music will continue to inspire us,” and thanking everyone’s “support and condolences at this difficult time.” The Colombian Ministry of Culture highlighted that “his art embraced cumbia, porro, paseo and vallenato” and that “songs like ‘El Guayabo de la Ye’ and ‘El Hijo de Tuta’ will remain forever in our memory.”

Born on Sept. 26, 1937 in Los Palmitos, Meza became known in the 1950s with compositions that became popular in the Colombian Caribbean, according to El País. In 1965, he joined Los Corraleros de Majagual as an accordionist, a group in which he worked with other greats vallenato singers and songwriters such as Alfredo Gutiérrez and Calixto Ochoa. In 1969, he competed in the Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata and came in second place, after Nicolás “Colacho” Mendoza, but the attendees stated that Meza should have won, and nicknamed him since then “el Rey sin Corona” (“the King without a Crown”,) reports the same newspaper.

Over the decades, Meza recorded dozens of albums, of his own or with other groups, releasing hits such as “Senderito de Amor,” “El Macho,” “El Hombre Feliz,” “Ni que Estuviera Loco,” and many others.

“Maestro Lisandro Meza, on behalf of all the Colombian people, thank you for being born in this land. Until we meet again,” Carlos Vives wrote on his X account, where he also published three photographs of himself with the accordionist and musician.

Other Colombian artists expressed their sorrow for his passing. “Lamenting the death of maestro Lisandro Meza. Condolences to all his family and friends,” wrote Juanes. While Jorge Celedón tweeted: “Maestro #LizandroMeza, a great of Colombian musician, leaves us today. I feel enormous sadness for his departure […] I will always remember that noble hug and greeting every time we met.”

Meza was married for more than six decades to Luz Domínguez and, according to different media outlets, and he was the father of 16 children.

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