Arizona Singer of Cartel Songs Murdered in Mexico

33-year-old Tomas Eduardo Tovar, a performer from the U.S. known for singing about the drug trade, was shot in Mexico on May 29.

According to the AFP, Tovar was a singer of "narco-corridos," a music genre dedicated to glorifying the drug trade and narcotics trafficking. The performer, who was from Arizona, apparently used the stage name Tito Torbellino.

The shooting reportedly happened in a restaurant located in the Mexican city Cuidad Obregon. Two men stormed into the restaurant and fired at Tovar multiple times, the AFP reported. 

Tovar ultimately died in a vehicle on the way to the hospital. 

Narco-corridos apparently evolved from traditional folk music in Mexico in the early 20th century. Today, the genre is compared to gangster rap. 

According to the AFP, narco-corridos songs are typically about the life of cartel kingpins and involve accordions, tubas, guitars, and drums. 

The songs may also revolve around illegal activities like drug smuggling, murders, torturing, or illegal immigration. Narco-corridos singers have gained tremendous popularly along the U.S.-Mexican border. 

The Guardian reported, "Inevitably, [the singers] are not to everyone's taste: educated Mexicans are scandalised by what they see as the debasement of a noble folk tradition, the Catholic Church has denounced corridistas for glorifying the drugs trade, and at least five Mexican states have banned radios from airing the music. But like gangsta rap, narcocorrido has thrived on the controversy - despite the ban, it has massive support from its fans."

Numerous narco-corridos performers have reportedly been murdered in Mexico during the recent years. 

Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate


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