Mexican Musician Kidnapped And Tortured Adds To Violent Crime Wave Against Narcocorrido Musicians

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Violence against Mexican musicians from narcocorridos bands keep escalating. A singer with the norteña band "Los Ciclones del Arroyo" was kidnapped and shot in the leg after refusing to perform a song requested by a group of people at a party police said, according to Hispanically Speaking News.

The band's singer, Julio Cesar Leyva Beltran, was abducted from a party in the state Choix, a city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He was taken away in an SUV after the band refused to play another song after the guests requested one. While in captivity, the kidnappers who remain unidentified, tortured Leyva and shot him in the leg.

Later that Saturday he was released and hospitalized in the coastal city of Los Mochis in Sinaloa with a leg fracture caused by the gunshot.

Los Ciclones del Arroyo’s best known songs are “Asesino a sueldo” (Killer for Hire), “La marcha” (The March), and the “narcocorrido” “El aguila blanca” (The White Eagle).

Leyva's case adds to the increasing number of narcocorridos performers who have been tortured and murdered in northern Mexico in recent years.

Narcocorrido is a type of Mexican music which evolved out of the norteño folk corrido tradition. Corridos have chronicled life and death in Mexico since the time of the Mexican Revolution. The songs typically eulogize the exploits of drug traffickers against the rhythm of old-style Mexican rhythms. Mexico's bloody cartel war is reflected in the controversial drug ballads as the songs celebrate the violent lives — and grisly deaths — of Mexican drug lords.

Narcocorridos gained popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, with lyrics praising the exciting lives of drug barons. The newer songs have taken a darker spon. One of the more popular band is "Movimiento Alterado" (Altered Movement), with songs filled with unusually explicit lyrics about decapitations and torture, and praise for one drug gang in particular: the Sinaloa cartel.

"The production of narcocorridos is immense,” said Juan Carlos Ramirez-Pimienta, an academic from the University of San Diego, California, who recently published a book on the ballads, according to The Daily Star.

While the music popularity keeps growing, more than a dozen Mexican musicians were murdered between 2006 and 2008; motives are shadowy, but it's suspected that some were killed for what they sang, according to TIME Magazine.

Rodolfo Gomez Valenzuela was fatally wounded last March in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He was member of the band "Cartel de Sinaloa" named after one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartel. Armed men entered a house where the band was rehearsing and opened fire. Jose Antonio Sanchez Velazquez, also a member of the band "Cartel de Sinaloa" was slain in 2009.

Another case was reported in November of last year when narcocorrido singer-songwriter Diergo Rivas was murdered in the state of Sinaloa. One of Rivas' famous songs was an ode to Joaquin Shorty Guzman, one of Mexico's most wanted drug lord.

Images of Mexico's Drug War:

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