Chalino Sanchez was a Mexican singer and composer who popularised narcocorrido music. After his killing in 1992, his music became famous, and it is recognized as one of the first instances of music artists celebrating drug trafficking in their content.
Who was Chalino Sanchez, and where did he come from?
Rosalino “Chalino” Sanchez was a prominent Mexican singer and composer known for performing narcocorridos, music celebrating Mexico’s drug and gang lifestyle. Chalino was born in 1960 and lived in a remote town in Mexico’s Sinaloa state with seven siblings. Chalino was obliged to become the man of the family when his father died while he was just six years old. His sister Juana was raped by a local “mafioso” when she was 15, prompting Chalino to murder the guy in retaliation.
He escaped to California to avoid Mexican police and resided with his aunt in Los Angeles. To sustain himself, he did a variety of occupations, including a period as a “coyote,” transporting people over the US border.
Chalino married Marisela Vallejos in 1984, and the couple had two children, Adan, and Cynthia Sanchez. Chalino was sentenced to eight months in jail for various small charges after his brother died in Tijuana later that year.
Chalino trained his musical talents and shared tales with fellow Sinaloans throughout his anguish and time in prison. He did it in the guise of a corrido, a traditional Sinaloan song that recalls heroic events from the Mexican Revolution or notorious bandits. Chalino began performing for money and was given pistols and “presents” by his other convicts, who charged him with writing music.
Before meeting Pedro Rivera, who had a modest recording studio, Chalino produced a cassette of 15 songs and started selling them from the trunk of his vehicle throughout Los Angeles. They teamed up and became some of the earliest and most well-known narcocorridos singers.
Due to Chalino’s cadence and Sinaoloan slang, they moved on to play in Southland clubs as their fame expanded among the Latino Los Angeles population.
In 1992, during a Coachella concert, a local guy went on stage and started shooting a gun at Chalino in front of an audience of 400 people.
Chalino drew a 10mm handgun from his belt and opened fire, leaving both men in severe condition and requiring surgery.
During the altercation, seven to ten individuals were allegedly injured until the initial gunman was shot in the mouth with his gun after being pulled to the ground by a bystander.
Following the event, Chalino’s sales skyrocketed, and he started to get some recognition, which led to his songs being played on the radio.
Chalino’s professional life
When did Chalino begin his career as a musician? In the early 1980s, he was caught and sentenced to eight months in jail. He was imprisoned at La Mesa for various minor offenses. Sánchez practiced music and shared tales with some detainees, mostly Sinaloans, while inside. The singer and composer were motivated by the stories told by other detainees to make songs about them.
Narcocorridos became the name for the genre. After being released from jail, he rapidly established his music career, exposing stories of drug trafficking via his songs. It grew popular among the general public, but the authorities, understandably, did not like the applause for criminal activities. Despite Sánchez’s popularity, narcocorridos remained primarily illegal, and musicians who followed this kind of music were often persecuted.
Before meeting Pedro Rivera, Sánchez began by recording songs and selling recordings from the trunk of his vehicle in Los Angeles. Pedro had a modest studio, collaborating to create the first narcocorridos songs. Chalino’s high demand saw him perform in a variety of settings. One of his most notable performances came at Coachella in 1992. Someone went on stage and began shooting a gun at him while playing. The musician pulled out his weapon and began firing.
Chalino’s love life
Chalino married Marisela Vallejos, a relative of his. Until his horrific death in 1992, he was a one-woman man. Adan Sanchez and Cynthia Sanchez, Chalino’s children, were left behind.
Chalino’s unique style
Chalino was a specialist in his field. He used to sing in a cadence and Sinaoloan slang that no other famous singer dared to try. He was recruited to perform at Coachella, a nightclub in Los Arcos, in 1992. Chalino was on the verge of death at the moment.
Unemployed mechanic “Eduardo Gallegos” stormed the stage and opened fire on Chalino, seriously wounding him. Around seven to 10 individuals were injured during the event, and one person was murdered. Gallegos, on the other hand, was assassinated by an unknown assailant.
What’s the mystery
Chalino’s death is still a mystery in the world of drug ballads. His killing served as a stark reminder that narcocorridos are still frowned upon and illegal. However, in the United States, gangster rap grew in popularity throughout the 1980s.
Chalino was shot and murdered by armed individuals posing as state police. He was then blindfolded, bound, and shot twice in the head. However, the authorities could not determine a motive, and no suspects were apprehended.
Chalino’s assassination was very certainly linked to a narcotics organization. His assassination, though, remains a mystery. He isn’t the only one who has met with this destiny. Many narcocorrido performers were assassinated after his death. For example, Valentin Elizalde and Sergio Gomez were assassinated over two years.
This kind of murder did not come to an end. In the year 2013, 17 familiar narcocorrido singers were murdered. On the other hand, artists continue to perform in this way to keep linked to a culture that many people are unfamiliar with.
Chalino Sanchez left a musical legacy that is still cherished today. If you happen to stumble across a drug gang, you’ll find them playing Chalino’s corrido on a beautiful bright day.