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"Narco-Ballads" Gain Popularity With Mexicans


November-December 1997

Los Tucanes de Tijuana and other musical groups that specialize in corridos with themes of drug trafficking are becoming increasingly popular among Mexicans and Mexican-Americans (Robert Collier, "Drugs Muscle Into Mexican Music Mix," San Francisco Chronicle, October 17, 1997, p. A1).

Corridos is the principal style of ballad in northern Mexico and is used to mark important events. Critics claim that groups like Los Tucanes promotes drug trafficking and violence associated with it in their "narcocorridos." At a recent Los Tucanes concert, more than 2,000 fans cheered as the band played its new hit, "La Pinata," a song allegedly about a drug trafficker's party with a pinata full of cocaine bags. The bands latest CD has sold more than 2 million copies.

Rene Villanueva, a prominent music historian and a member of Los Folkloristas, a band that plays traditional Mexican music, including corridos, said, "Narcocorridos are a horrible perversion of Mexican culture."