El Poderoso Kombo Kolombia was a young band that over the past three years had made their name known around Monterrey, Mexico, and the surrounding state of Nuevo León. Possessing a seemingly endless wardrobe of band t-shirts, proclaiming themselves alternatively as El Vallenato y el Poderoso Kombo Kolombia, or just Kombo Kolombia, the group’s twelve members got their name out.
They played continuous live dates and also appeared on regional television programs. Teenage fans danced onstage with them during appearances on “El Club del Italiano,” a music and comedy show. On a Youtube video with footage from “Futbol al Día,” a local soccer program, the musicians, in band shirts, jeans and white sneakers, groove through “Va Que Va,” one of their most requested songs, with accordion, congas, drums, a horn section, electric guitars, keyboards and scraper backing three vocalists. As they wrapped up, the show’s host, a white-haired commentator sitting behind a laptop, put his fists in the air and excitedly shouted “Long live youth!”
While the scope of Kombo Kolombia’s activity seemed to give the most literal meaning to the name Regional Mexican music, the band, which as its name suggests was influenced by Colombian cumbia and vallenato, had potential to grow. There were already a handful of fan club pages devoted to the group on Facebook.
On one of the Facebook pages, on top of the New Year’s blessings from the band and the usual shout outs, a message appeared over the weekend:
“Attention kids tomorrow Sunday we will wait for you at 10 am for a mass for all of the members of El Poderoso Kombo Kolombia,” it read in Spanish.
The members of the group and eight people on their staff were kidnapped Friday night after a performance at a private party on a ranch in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo León. According to press reports, a group of armed men in fourteen trucks pulled up to “La Carreta” ranch and forced the band members and those with them into the vehicles.
By Sunday evening, eight bodies had been pulled from a well on a property about 30 kilometers from the concert site, newspapers in Mexico reported. They had been identified by their t-shirts.
On Monday, authorities were still working to extract bodies from the deep well. According to reports, one member of the group managed to escape and led police to the site. His declarations have not been made public.
No suspects or motive for the kidnappings and killings has been mentioned by the authorities, according to Mexican press.
The shocking news of the deaths of the Kombo Kolombia band members is the latest violent tragedy involving Regional Mexican music artists. Popular singer Valentin Elizalde was executed in his car after a concert in 2006; Sergio Vega “El Shaka,” Sergio Gomez, vocalist of the band K-Paz, and the singer Zayda Peña Ariona were other victims in recent years of the violence surrounding the genre.