In accordance with an ordinance prohibiting the singing of narcocorrido songs which glorify drug culture, authorities in Chihuahua, Mexico have fined a concert promoter 10,000 pesos (about $8,000) for a July 27 concert by the artist known as El Komander. El Komander, whose videos featuring guns, fast cars and cocaine have millions of views on Youtube, denied responsibility.
“El Komander goes everywhere because he loves rules; the rules of every city, of every state, of every entity. If they tell us ‘don’t sing this,’ we don’t sing it,” the artist, whose real name is Alfredo Rios, told reporters at a press conference in the city of Puebla. “We have a lot of songs to sing and have fun with, and who doesn’t like us doesn’t like us, but we play by the rules because we want to be able to sing anywhere.”
Rios later told Univision News that he had reviewed his repertoire with the concert promoter before the late night appearance on stage for a rowdy crowd that had waited outside through a thunderstorm to see him. “There must have been some misunderstanding,” he said.
Chihuahua City assistant government secretary Javier Torres told the Associated Press that the concert promoters had been forced to forfeit a deposit of 100,000 pesos which had been posted prior to the weekend concert. Torres said the money will be used to buy computers for community centers.
Chihuahua mayor Marco Quezada Martínez told Mexican press that the promoter of the event would be denied concert permits in the future. He called for city commissioners to raise fines or completely prohibit shows by known narcocorrido singers in the border state, where thousands of people have died in drug-related violence in recent years. The current regulations against singing narcocorridos live have been in place for about three years. In July, the organizers of a local fair lost a 97,000-peso deposit after the Tucanes de Tijuana performed some narcocorridos in Chihuahua City, according to the AP.
“In an atmosphere of violence, it’s not right to have people glamorizing crime,” said Torres. “That feeds this type of culture, above all among young people around high school age, who see these references to crime and think they’re attractive.”
Rios was unapologetic about El Komander’s lyrics. “My music does not carry messages,” he told Univision, interviewed on air during a promotional event in Mexico City where El Komander fans started a fistfight with security guards. “It’s pure Regional Mexican music.”