The Baltimore Sun



Mexican musician

Angel Tavira Maldonado, a Mexican musician whose acting debut in El Violin (The Violin) moved audiences and won him critical acclaim, including a Best Actor award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, died last week in a Mexico City hospital.

Mr. Tavira died of kidney problems, a representative for the company that co-produced The Violin told the Associated Press.

A violinist and composer of son calentano, the spry, soulful music that is native to the Tierra Caliente ("Hot Lands") region that straddles the southern Mexican states of Guerrero and Michoacan, Mr. Tavira had never acted before director Francisco Vargas Quevedo cast him as the lead in El Violin.

In the movie, he played Don Plutarco Hidalgo, a farmer and fiddle player who is secretly supporting a peasant revolt against the Mexican government. The movie was widely regarded in Mexico as one of the most socially trenchant films in recent years.

As a youth, Mr. Tavira lost his right hand, reportedly in a fireworks accident during a saint's feast day. But he learned to master his chosen instrument anyway by using a strap to connect his bow to the stump of his hand.

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