Mexico: Narcocorrido musician killed for singing to the wrong cartel

17 March 2017
On 3 March 2017, Rolando Arellano Sánchez, a member of the narcocorrido band Contacto, was shot and killed by cartel members in Tijuana city.
Photo: Rolando Arellano Sánchez/Grupo Contacto Facebook page


On 3 March 2017, Rolando Arellano Sánchez, a member of the narcocorrido band Contacto, was shot and killed by cartel members who were waiting for him outside the house of another member of the band in Tijuana city, reported Univision on 5 March 2017.

Sánchez, the 22-year-old guitarist and back-up vocalist of the band, was killed the night of 3 March outside his friend’s house in the city’s Buenos Aires neighborhood; he was accompanied by another member of the band who survived the attack by hiding.

According to local authorities, the main line of investigation for the assassination can be tracked to a double homicide that occurred on 25 January 2017.

In that case, two young men, both friends of the band, were killed just a few days after the manager of the band received a note warning that the band should stop singing songs to the Sinaloa Cartel. The threats were made by people who identify themselves as members of the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación.

After the killings, the band’s manager refused to have any relationship with the band and escaped to the US, moved by fear; the members of the band stopped playing narcocorridos. Neither of this was enough, however, and the band members continued to be harassed.

On 3 March, when Sánchez and his friend arrived to the house, a truck was already waiting for them. Sánchez was shot several times and died immediately while his friend and the attackers escaped.

Through their Facebook page, the band Contacto condemned the assassination.

Narcocorrido singers in the eyes of the attackers
On 10 February 2017, on the streets of the La Mesa neighbourhood in Tijuana city, authorities found a banner with a message threatening to kill the musicians of the band Los Nuevos Rebeldes if they dared to sing in the Las Pulgas bar.

The banner said: “To the artists that sing to El Aquiles and The Frog [both drug dealer nicknames] and their people: If you, Los Nuevos Rebeldes, dare to perform, we will kill you. We will kill anybody that sings to those people, in the same way that you kill our musicians that sing to us. In the same manner.”

The concert, planned for that weekend, was canceled for security reasons.

On 1 September 2016, José Alberto Cervantes, lead singer of the band Explosión Norteña, was shot and killed in the Constitución neighborhood, in Rosarito, a city in northern Mexico.

On the same evening, Miguel Miramontes Murrieta, lead singer of the narcocorridos band Nueva Eminencia, was found under a bridge with several gunshot wounds. Local police found a banner at the scene that said: “That’s how you use bridges, you, assholes and strippers. Here, we rule, and you stay silent.”

Narcocorridos in brief
The narcocorrido is a variation of corrido, a traditional Mexican ballad that has its origins in several music genres, such as waltz and polka. The main difference between the traditional corridos and narcocorrido songs is that while corridos used to tell stories of the Mexican Independence’s movement, the main topics of the stories told by narcocorridos are about real Mexican drug lords, their violent actions and their lifestyle. Because of the nature of the lyrics, narcocorrido singers are often legally prosecuted or restricted by media outlets or authorities, as well as by criminals.

In 2016, Sinaloa state suspended all permissions for public concerts featuring narcorridos and Coahuila state banned narcorrido songs throughout the state. In 2015, Ciudad Juárez, in the State of Chihuahua, also banned narcocorridos at large public events.



» Semanario Zeta – 10 March 2017
Narcocorridos’ musicians killed

» People en Español – 8 March 2017
Narcocorridos’ musician killed in front of his house

» TV y Notas – 7 March 2017
Member of the band Contacto killed in cold blood

» Univision – 5 March 2017
Founder of Contacto killed by gunfire

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