Latin

Pepe Aguilar on Bringing His 'Jaripeo Sin Fronteras' Tour to Life: 'It's One of a Kind'

Pepe Aguilar
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Pepe Aguilar performs during a concert as part of the 'Jaripeo Sin Fronteras' tour at American Airlines Center on Nov. 18, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.

After a year of not touring because of the global pandemic, Pepe Aguilar returns with his “Jaripeo Sin Fronteras” tour, announcing 15 new U.S. dates for 2021.

Conceptualized by the renowned Regional Mexican star himself, the family-friendly concert will have performances by Pepe, Angela Aguilar, Leonardo Aguilar, Antonio Aguilar Jr., Banda Sinaloense, and Mariachi Zacatecano.

But “more than a concert, it’s an experience,” Aguilar tells Billboard. A Jaripeo, which fuses Mexican traditions with live music, also includes rodeo acts, horse shows, charreria competition, bull riders, and more.

More than 150 people and about 20 animals travel with the Aguilar family to bring this spectacle to life. “It’s very complicated but I think it’s one of a kind and unrepeatable,” he notes.

The 2021 tour, produced by Live Nation, will kick off Sept. 4 in Phoenix’s Gila River Arena, and wrap up on Dec. 5 in San Jose’s SAP Center. The Aguilar dynasty will also make pit stops in Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, to name a few.

Combining traditional equestrianism with the latest technology such as video, lasers, lights, and special effects, Aguilar describes the tour as “a rock concert but with traditional content.”

In an exclusive Q&A with Billboard, Aguilar tells all about the making of “Jaripeo Sin Fronteras.” Read it below.

For our readers who may not understand the term or concept, can you explain what a “jaripeo” is?

Jaripeos are popular festivals where farm work is involved with fun. Basically, they are contests where bull riders get prizes and awards, and there are many types of jaripeos in Mexico. That’s why I called it "Jaripeo Sin Fronteras," because we don't do it in any particular style, and it's not just jaripeo. I wanted to use a word that many Mexicans understood and also our fans in Latin American, who understand the concept. What predominates in our spectacle is the mariachi, the band, the charro suit, and other international numbers from Spain, Canada, the United States, but the show, overall, has to do with the relationship between animals and humans.

In its totality, including musicians, staff, and horses, how many people and animals go on tour with the Aguilar family?

PEOPLE: We are more than 150 people. It’s like a circus. There’s a series of acts that happen back-to-back and are interspersed with music and horses, bulls, acrobats. It is similar to the tour we did in 2018 - 2019, but now we bring that and much more. This is more than a concert, it is an experience.

ANIMALS: It depends. I still haven’t decided how many horses I will take. What this year has shown us is that we control absolutely nothing. I am proposing the same number of animals from the last tour, which is approximately 15 horses, eight bulls, two fighting bulls, ponies, dogs, monkeys. Larger animals go overland and have to take breaks between trips. When traveling with our horses, we have to take a slower pace for transportation from one city to another.

CHARROS: There are eight riders, plus my son who’s just beginning, and myself, who’s a charria champion. We are talking about 12 charros on this tour.

JC Olivera/Getty Images
Pepe Aguilar and Angela Aguilar perform onstage during Pepe Aguilar and Family 'Jaripeo Sin Fronteras 2019' press conference at Los Angeles Theatre on April 1, 2019 in Los Angeles.

Last time, you had special guests on tour such as Christian Nodal. How will the 2021 tour be any different from the 2018-2019 tour?

This time we won’t have any special guests but we will have many new songs. Angela has two hits since the pandemic. She’s grown a lot on social media and has new fans. You’ll definitely see a new side of her. I have a new album with romantic rancheras. I haven’t worked on something with mariachi in six years. Leonardo brings new music that’s incredible. I think that all of that, mixed with my brother, who has a more traditional show, will offer something different for our fans.

As you mentioned, “Jaripeo Sin Fronteras” is more than just a tour, it’s a family tradition. How many years have you produced this show?

This would be my third Jaripeo. I lasted 20 years without riding a horse and performing by myself at arenas. One thing is for you to sing in an arena for 20,000 people and another thing is for you to open the entire arena, as we do with the jaripeo. Of regional Mexican music, there is no colleague who does it this way. I tell you with great pride because in the end what is filling these shows are the traditions and it’s the music, the mariachi. This show is unique and goes beyond us. What's more, I think that this type of show will continue happening but without me as a headline. I’ll offer it to another headliner in the future because we already know how to do it and we have all the structures.

You are kicking off the tour in the fall, but how long does it actually take to prepare a tour of this magnitude?

Just so you have an idea, we are already working on our summer 2022 tour. We signed a two-year contract with Live Nation that includes 33 dates, and we need to sort them out. We have the pre-production, production, and post-production teams. For a show like this one, we involved scene directors, artistic directors, sports directors. For example, our 2021 artistic director is a young man who has worked on four Cirque du Soleil, doing costumes, choreography, and production. For this tour, we have been preparing for about six months to a year. It’s a lot of work. Physically speaking, I have to train on my horse at least one month before to be in shape and get the horse accustomed. Overall, it’s three hours of concert with 35 musicians, a lot of animals, and more. Each department takes a while.

On that note, how expensive is it to create a jaripeo that requires so much detail?

I don't have the exact figure, but so you have an idea, this is not a normal concert. To begin with, a jaripeo costs more than you can imagine. Each horse is quite expensive, they are Andalusian, Aztec, Spanish, quarter-mile horses, the best of the best and there the prices are subjective because I give my horses the price I want or some do not have prices at all!

The most complicated thing, more than expensive, is to be able to do it with dignity, seriousness, credibility, knowledge. That is why we are the only ones doing this type of tour. I inherited it to a certain level where my father took it and then we transported it to the 21st century, but I already count with a school and education to make it a big show. I am not intimidated. I can physically do things that 99% of my colleagues cannot do, which is go out on horseback singing and sound like I'm at a concert, and then bring my family along. It is totally complicated and I think it is one-of-a-kind in its genre and unrepeatable, simply because several factors came together to make this show happen. If God allows it, this is just the beginning.