Video: Narcocorridos inspire Mexico City mural

The music of Mexico’s drug trade has taken a beating lately. As we reported from Tijuana last year, some radio stations south of the border have stopped playing the songs and promoters have banned the music from many public events. Nightclub owners ask bands to turn down narcocorrido requests.

Richard Marosi wrote: Narcocorridos still draw legions of fans, despite government efforts to squelch the music. Calor Norteña played the song about Villarreal only because of repeated requests from hard-drinking bar-goers. But it was a momentary exception to a backlash that has succeeded like none before in changing people’s attitudes toward the music, say members of several bands, nightclub owners, concert promoters and government officials. They describe a growing dislike, even revulsion, for music that critics say celebrates the people terrorizing a community that has suffered at least 207 violent deaths this year. Attendance at narcocorrido concerts has dipped; bands say audiences request the music less and less, preferring dance and romantic tunes that take their minds off the city’s troubles.

But Mexican artist Cristina Rubalcava wasn’t put off by the controversy. After writing a song for los Tigres Del Norte about the controversial 670-mile fence project along the U.S.-Mexico border, she got to listening to some of the band’s narcocorridos and created a mural that illustrates phrases from more than 40 of their canciones. Watch the video for more.

— Deborah Bonello in Mexico City, for La Plaza