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Anecdote: Roberto’s Unexpected Debut with Myrna and Los Platinos

The Day I Replaced Alonso Cantu’s Chef

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Myrna, Roberto Hugo and Osmel - Myrna y Los Platinos
Myrna, Roberto Hugo and Osmel. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

As originally published by Texas Border Business in its newsprint edition November 2005

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Alonso Cantu
Alonso Cantu

A fortuitous stage call of the late 1970s, a unique trio known as Myrna and Los Platinos emerged as model of originality and talent. This famous musical trio, celebrated for their international performances, was comprised of Myrna, the lead vocalist with an unparalleled voice; Osmel Martinez, an acoustic guitar virtuoso and the creative force behind the trio’s compositions; and Ramon Garcia, the adept guitar harmonist and backing vocalist, who later transitioned to a culinary career as the chef of Lone Star National Bank.

Amidst their rising fame, a sudden and unexpected change shook the foundation of the trio. Ramon Garcia, known for his harmonious guitar play and vocal support, was conspicuously absent from a critical performance. In his place stood Roberto Hugo Gonzalez, a figure whose presence was as surprising to the audience as his attire—his bell bottoms silent evidence to the era’s fashion.

The story behind this impromptu substitution began with a visit from Osmel Martinez to Roberto, a guitar aficionado with a passion for music since age ten but no formal training in reading musical scores. Roberto had developed his skills through a keen ear for music and the tutelage of his father, Don Rafael Gonzalez Castro, who instilled in him a love for the guitar without the boundaries of traditional music note.

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Ramon Garcia
Ramon Garcia

The trio had found themselves in a precarious situation; despite the dissolution of their original lineup, they were committed to fulfilling their performance obligations. With no one else to turn to, Osmel reached out to Roberto for assistance. Despite Roberto’s initial reluctance and attempts to avoid the spotlight, he ultimately agreed to join the performance as a favor to Osmel, driven by a mix of friendship and the daunting challenge it presented. The event was the following day.

Stepping onto the stage with Osmel and Myrna, Roberto faced a formidable task. Without prior rehearsal or experience playing alongside such seasoned professionals, he relied solely on his ability to follow Osmel’s lead, a task made all the more challenging by Osmel’s exceptional skill and speed on the guitar. The performance, a trial by fire, proved to be a defining moment for Roberto. While he managed to keep pace with the virtuosic playing of Osmel and complement Myrna’s captivating vocals, the experience left him with a profound appreciation for the talent and skill required to perform at such a level.

Roberto H. Gonzalez
Roberto H. Gonzalez

In reflecting on the event, Roberto gained not only a deeper respect for Ramon Garcia’s expertise as a guitarist but also an understanding of the intricacies involved in performing with artists of such caliber. The experience highlighted the challenges of live performance, particularly when stepping in for a musician as adept as Ramon, and provided Roberto with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to push his boundaries as a musician.

Myrna and Los Platinos, with their blend of original compositions, exceptional talent, and the unexpected twist of Roberto’s one-time appearance, remain a memorable chapter in the history of music during the late 1970s. The incident serves as a proof to the unpredictability of live performances and the unifying power of music, bringing together individuals from different backgrounds to create moments of beauty and harmony against the backdrop of the era’s dynamic cultural setting.

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