Ricardo José Aguirre González, (May 9, 1939 – November 8, 1969), was a Venezuelan folk musician and Gaita Zuliana singer and composer. He is known as "El Monumental de la Gaita" (The Monumental Artist of the Gaita genre) and "El Padre de la Gaita" (The Father of the Gaita genre). He composed the popular song, "La grey zuliana".[1]

Ricardo Aguirre
Ricardo Aguirre González.jpg
Background information
Also known asEl Monumental
Born(1939-05-09)May 9, 1939
Maracaibo, Venezuela
DiedNovember 8, 1969(1969-11-08) (aged 30)
Maracaibo, Venezuela
GenresGaita zuliana
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, composer, director
Years active1958–1969
Associated actsCardenales del Éxito


Early lifeEdit

Ricardo Aguirre was born on May 9, 1939 to Luisángel Aguirre and Ida Cira González. He began his elementary education at a small private school before continuing his education at two different public schools. His secondary education was interrupted by the political turmoil caused by the mounting popular pressure against the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez. After the dictatorship ended in 1958, Aguirre moved to the town of Rubio in the border state of Táchira where he attended Gervasio Rubio High School. After obtaining a teaching degree at age 19, he began teaching at the Monseñor Francisco A. Granadillo School while serving as an announcer for the radio station La Voz de la Fe.[2]

Musical careerEdit

While studying to become a teacher, he learned to play guitar, piano, and other instruments, and began composing Gaita zuliana songs. During this time, he was a member of different musical groups and performed in musicals and theatrical plays. He began his musical career as the director of the Gaita Zuliana groups Los Sabrosos and Santa Canoíta.

In 1962, he joined Los Cardenales along with his three brothers: Alves, Rixio and Renato. After a division within the group, Aguirre proposed an addition to the group's name and the suggestion was accepted, consequently naming the group Los Cardenales del Éxito (the name the group still uses today).[3]

In 1967, due to differences among members, Aguirre left and joined the group Saladillo, where he composed the song, "La grey zuliana". Aguirre stayed and recorded with the group for two years before returning to Los Cardenales del Éxito to record another album.


Statue in honor of Ricardo Aguirre in Maracaibo

Aguirre's musical career ended abruptly on November 8, 1969 when he was killed in a vehicular accident in Maracaibo.[3][4] On November 4, 1978 the then-Governor of Zulia State, Humberto Fernández Auvert, issued a decree officially declaring November 8, "El Día de los Gaiteros" in Aguirre's memory.[3] He had four children who later formed the group Dinastía Aguirre.[5]

Origin of his artistic nameEdit

Aguirre's friend, Octavio Urdaneta, once called Aguirre, "El Monumental" without giving the idea much thought. However, Aguirre's powerful voice, simple personality, and elegant demeanor justified the moniker, and he has been fondly remembered and revered as, "El Monumental" ever since.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Carroll, Robert Thomas (2013). "Feeling Zulian through Gaita: Singing Regional Identity in Maracaibo, Venezuela" (PDF). University of Washington.
  2. ^ "Ricardo Aguirre, Hermano Monumental". nuestragaita.com (in Spanish). Héctor "pomponio" Márquez. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "RICARDO AGUIRRE, EL MONUMENTAL" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on October 24, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  4. ^ Diario Panorama (November 30, 2011), Murió en choque Ricardo Aguirre, El Monumental de la Gaita, retrieved January 31, 2017
  5. ^ Camero, José Gregorio (November 8, 2016). "Se conmemora 47 años de la muerte Ricardo Aguirre | PrimeraEmision.com – Guárico". PrimeraEmision.com – Guárico. (in Spanish). Retrieved January 31, 2017.