When Mexican singer Chalino Sanchez played his first show in Sinaloa, he was on the verge of a career breakthrough. But it was just the beginning of his harrowing journey.
While he was singing at Salon Bugambilias in Culiacan, an audience member handed him a note. That note warned him he would die after the performance.
He was shot in the head
Chalino sanchez was born to poor parents in a small village in Sinoloa, Sinaloa. He dreamed of becoming a singer even in those times when the family only shared one piece of bread to eat each day.
At the age of 15, he was forced to leave home due to an incident when his sister was raped by a man who had connections with the drug cartels. In revenge, he shot and killed this rapist.
He came to the US and settled in Los Angeles as an undocumented migrant worker. He worked odd jobs like washing dishes and selling small amounts of drugs to make ends meet.
He was recognized all over California, and he received requests to sing in various music venues. He was also well-known for his narcocorridos, which glamorizes the drug trade and the lifestyle that goes with it.
He was blindfolded
In his lifetime, Chalino Sanchez uncorked a musical movement that swept Southern California, spreading the love of banda sinaloense and musica sierrena (harshly plucked-and-strummed guitar music from the mountains) while giving Mexican immigrants an escape.
He was one of those Sinaloan obsessions that swept the region, bringing with them Mexican pride in fighting xenophobia, an uptick in Stetson sales and a songbook of timeless tracks that will never be forgotten. But it’s also the case that when it comes to these musicians who uncorked a movement, there are few lasting gifts left in their wake.
In 1992, during a performance at Los Arcos nightclub in Coachella, a local man named Eduardo Gallegos jumped on stage and began firing a pistol at Chalino. In a frantic exchange, seven civilians were hit in the shootout and a local man died. It was a harrowing experience for Chalino, but it made his career, as more and more clubs began booking him.
He was killed by the Sinaloa Cartel
Chalino Sanchez was a Mexican-American singer and songwriter who was a pioneer in narcocorrido music, or drug ballads. He was born in 1960 in Las Flechas, Sinaloa.
Unlike many other musicians who glorify drug trafficking in their songs, Sanchez was not a narco himself. But he wrote songs that often praised the illegal drug trade.
The singer was killed in 1992 by the Sinaloa Cartel. He was shot in the head with two bullets. He had rope marks on his hands and wrists, and his eyes were blindfolded.
Despite the fact that the crime remains unsolved, Sanchez’s death has fueled a lot of conspiracy theories. His story has also inspired an eight-episode podcast, “Idolo: The Ballad of Chalino Sanchez,” by Futuro Media and Sonoro Media.
He was killed by the Tijuana Cartel
Chalino Sanchez was one of the most important narcocorrido singers in Southern California history, but he died a violent death. It remains unclear who killed him, though it is rumored that the Tijuana Cartel had ties to him.
After his older brother Armando was shot and killed in Tijuana, Chalino began composing corridos, a form of Mexican ballad that often tells the stories of oppression, heartbreak and history. It was after this that he became a folk hero, and his songs continue to be recorded and sung in Mexico and abroad.
In 1989, Chalino created his first tape with 15 songs. He would put it in mercados, panaderias and swap meets across South Central Los Angeles.
He met another immigrant named Pedro Rivera who set up a recording studio in Long Beach where Chalino could record his own music for a fraction of the price. Together they created “prohibited corridos” that mythologized drug smugglers and murderers, kick-starting his career.
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