by Charlie Crooijmans
The drug-related violence is mostly concentrated in the northern part of Mexico, spreading out to the rest of the country (BBC News), and can be shockingly extreme. One of the latest excesses is the assault on the Mexican band Kombo Kolombia. The band played a private show in a bar in Hidalgo, in the area known as Potrero Chico, and reported missing since then.
Jorge Domene, the security spokesman for the State Government said that they reported on the disappearance of a band who came to work in the municipality of Hidalgo (AFP). All 20 members, musicians and roadies, are missing. The family tried to call them without any luck. They started to look for them but they just found their cars open and empty. In the meantime investigators have discovered at least eight bodies dumped in a well in the area (International Business Times).
In the news item below they didn’t have this information yet.
Kombo Kolombia is a popular local band. Internationally unknown. In the reports there isn’t much information about the group. Looking at various images, the amount of musicians varies from 8 to 16. In The Independent we can read that they exist for three years and play vallento, a Colombian music style, which is very popular in the Nuevo Leon state. Most of the members came from around (The Independent).
It is not the first time that musicians get involved with drug-related violence. But most of these musicians play narco corridos, songs glorifying drug traffickers. Only Kombo Kolombia did not play these Mexican folk melodies and their lyrics did not deal with violence or drug trafficking.
There are a few articles on musicians getting killed in Mexico. Like the one with the lugubrious title “Who is Killing Mexico’s Musicians?” from the Time Magazine in 2007.
The musicians of these styles grew up in communities rife with drug traffickers, who often pay the entertainers to play at their parties and to write songs about them. The singers perform the drug ballads along with their love songs: the narco corridos have been among the biggest-selling records in the country.
Elijah Wald, author of a recent book on narco corridos, argues that entertainers are not being specifically targeted. They are just in the same circles as many drug traffickers and are caught up in the jealousies and arguments that afflict everyone in that world. “If you were to drop a bomb on a random party of drug traffickers you would always get a few musicians,” Wald says. “Singers also attract the attention of people’s wives and girlfriends, which could be enough to get them killed. The rising gangsters gain their reputation by proving how much they are cold-blooded psychos.” (Time World)
This fair but sad explanation can also be applied to the assault on Kombo Kolombia, for the area has a high rate of drug-related violence.
Here is an example of a narco corrido from the Latin Grammy Award Winners Los Tucanes de Tijuana. And they are still alive…