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Podcast investigates the early loss of life of musician Chalino Sanchez : NPR

Some musicians develop into extra well-known for dying younger. That is a part of the story of Chalino Sanchez, however there’s extra to it. NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks with the host of a podcast that explores that theme.


Many musicians turned all of the extra well-known after they died younger, and that is true of Chalino Sanchez. However there’s rather more to his story, because the podcast “Idolo: The Ballad Of Chalino Sanchez” explores.


ERICK GALINDO: At age 31, the self-made music mogul, rumored cartel hitman, acclaimed singer-songwriter and beloved father of two is lifeless, and the thriller surrounding his ghastly homicide is about to show this poor immigrant from a tiny Mexican pueblo into probably the most well-known Mexican American singing outlaw that ever lived.

SHAPIRO: That is Erick Galindo, one of many hosts of “Idolo.” This singer-songwriter was mainly answerable for popularizing a whole musical subgenre, the narcocorrido. Sanchez spun tales of people heroes who have been typically drug lords.


CHALINO SANCHEZ: (Singing in Spanish).

GALINDO: Chalino didn’t have a educated voice. He actually does type of sound like any individual singing within the bathe. However in that method, he is so passionate and actual. And he, like, conjures up others to suppose they will sing. Lots of people do not like his voice, however finally it grows on you. , we describe it like perhaps the primary time you smoked marijuana, the place, like, you are like, this hurts. That is harsh. However then you definately settle down, and then you definately simply type of soak up it. And then you definately’re like, oh, it is a good feeling.

SHAPIRO: (Laughter).


SANCHEZ: (Singing in Spanish).

SHAPIRO: There’s one second within the first episode of this podcast the place you give a way of this man’s significance for individuals who may not be aware of his music.


GALINDO: Three many years after his loss of life, greater than 2 million listeners nonetheless tune into his Spotify channel every month. His greatest hit, a seminal ode to unrequited love referred to as “Las Nieves De Enero” (ph), which roughly interprets to “The Snows Of January,” has been streamed almost 100 million occasions on the favored music platform as of June 2021. That is extra occasions than Selena Quintanilla’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers In The Evening,” even Biggie’s hypnotic celebration anthem “Get Cash.”

SHAPIRO: Paint an image for us of what this man was like.

GALINDO: , he really lived numerous the life that he sang about. And so if Billy the Child may write his adventures into songs with the talent of Bob Dylan, that is mainly who Chalino was. He is like Tupac however for folks music, , Spanish people music. And in addition, , Tupac by no means obtained right into a shootout on stage throughout one in every of his reveals, which Chalino did. And…

SHAPIRO: So that you’re saying Chalino is type of more durable than Tupac, even.

GALINDO: Chalino grew up with, like, narcos. , he – the story goes that he dedicated his first homicide when he was, like, 15. One of many guys I talked to stated Chalino was a foul man attempting to be a singer. More often than not, you’ve gotten singers attempting to faux they’re dangerous guys.

SHAPIRO: He was from the identical a part of Mexico that your loved ones was from, Sinaloa. So when information of his loss of life broke in 1992, how did that land in your family?

GALINDO: I feel – so Chalino did one thing unbelievable for my household, which is he type of bridged the hole between my dad and mom, who have been immigrants – their tradition with our tradition right here in LA. And, like, for my older brother, Paul, who was, like, an enormous fan of his, Chalino’s loss of life was like a loss of life within the household. It was like one in every of his uncles dying.

SHAPIRO: Let’s hearken to this clip.


GALINDO: I keep in mind him coming residence that day. He did not say something, however he was clearly upset and wished to play a Chalino Sanchez cassette tape in our jammed household boombox. However Paul forgot to unplug the transportable radio. When he tried to dislodge a caught Gloria Trevi cassette tape with a filed-down screwdriver, a small electrical present knocked him again…


GALINDO: …All the way in which out for what felt like an eternity. After he recovered, he got here into the lounge and introduced by means of hard-fought tears, they killed Chalino.

SHAPIRO: On one stage, this podcast is a real crime story. Like, it is a homicide thriller. Who killed Chalino Sanchez? However there is a deeper stage, too. Inform us about what you have been hoping to discover about music, tradition, fame, the opposite parts that weave into this story.

GALINDO: Yeah, man. , like, I wished to provide some dignity to individuals who do develop up in these violent circles. And I simply wished to provide some nuance to that have – what it is wish to develop up in violence after which attempt to escape.

And for me, it felt like I used to be speaking about myself typically. The ’90s in southeast Los Angeles – it was just like the gang wars, the riots. And whether or not it was true or not, all of us simply type of accepted the truth that we have been rising up in a harmful time in a harmful neighborhood and that issues weren’t presumably going to work out. The truth that I’ve lived previous, like, my 30s is so stunning to me that I really feel like I am residing this bonus life. So once I inform these tales of those males, I am simply, like, so – I begin to really feel a lot empathy for his or her plight and for the truth that they weren’t in a position to dwell previous a sure age and that they do not get to see their grandkids and they do not get to inform their very own tales.


GALINDO: However I feel on the finish of the day, we simply have been telling a narrative, ? We weren’t essentially residing that life. And I feel perhaps that is the distinction, proper? Like, Chalino was telling these tales, however he was additionally residing them. So I feel that that could be a massive distinction of simply, like, this nerdy child from the hood who, like, used to take his glasses off as a result of he’d get beat up a little bit bit additional.


SANCHEZ: (Singing in Spanish).

SHAPIRO: So now the podcast is out. Have you ever heard from individuals in that group, from his widow, from his daughter, from these individuals who have been closest to him?

GALINDO: I’ve, ? And I – my understanding from speaking to them is that they are very pleased that the story obtained advised and that it obtained advised with such dignity and honor. , his daughter has shared it on her Instagram (laughter), which is, like, , how you’ve got made it.

SHAPIRO: (Laughter) Completely, yeah.

GALINDO: However it’s been wild. Like, so many individuals, like, have been tweeting me, DMing me. Chalino was such an enormous a part of their life and particularly individuals who grew up in these sorts of communities the place the immigrant expertise – it is all the time, like, advised by means of the eyes of, like, abject poverty and victimization. And this is a man who really – despite the fact that he wound up, , caught up on this circle, he was a man who, like, took, , his personal route, his personal path and made his personal factor. And I feel lots of people in my group who do not actually really feel like they belong to, , the outdated nation and do not actually really feel like they’re accepted on this nation – any individual who makes their very own lane and who makes their very own path all the time goes to resonate with them. And I feel that that’s the greatest legacy of somebody like Chalino.

SHAPIRO: Erick Galindo is likely one of the hosts of the brand new podcast “Idolo: The Ballad Of Chalino Sanchez.”


SANCHEZ: (Singing in Spanish).

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