Tito Torbellino, a US-born banda singer popular in Mexico, was gunned down Thursday at a restaurant in Sonora, a border state below Arizona and New Mexico.
According to authorities, Tito Torbellino was shot to death at a restaurant in Ciudad Obregon, the second largest city in Sonora. Police confirmed that two gunmen entered the restaurant and shot the singer at close range. Torbellino died on the way to the hospital.
A few musicians like Torbellino have been targeted in the recent years in Mexico. Most musicians who have been murdered were performers of “narcocorridos,” or songs that celebrate the narcotics lifestyle in Mexico. In 2013, South Texas singer Jesus “Chuy” Quentanilla was found dead in Mission, Texas. Quentanilla was a known performer of drug-related ballads.
However, Tito Torbellino rarely sang about drugs and focused his music more on “unrequited love.” Guns have been prominently featured in Torbellino’s music videos.
In a book written by music historian Elijah Wald entitled Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns and Guerrillas,drug groups do not exclusively hit narcocorrido performers. According to him, other reasons could be behind the murders. Getting involved with the girlfriend of a gang member is one.
“In that world, it’s probably more dangerous to be singing romantic songs than narcocorridos because it increases the chances that somebody’s girlfriend will suddenly decide that you’re the cutest thing ever.”
Additionally, drug war experts say that capos would usually target musicians affiliated with rival gangs.
Wald admitted that he didn’t have much information regarding Tito Torbellino’s death. However, in his analysis, he pointed out the sudden success of Tito Torbellino in the Mexican music scene during the past few months.
“It’s often just a matter of somebody sponsoring someone who isn’t paying them back or isn’t being properly respectful once they make it,”
“You’re in a world where’s it’s very, very easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or have the wrong friends or look sideway at the wrong girl. The list of things you can do wrong once you’re in that world gets very large.”
On his Facebook page, Tito Torbellino posted that he was scheduled to perform a concert at Ciudad Obregon on Friday, one day before he was shot to death.
[Image is screenshot of YouTube video]