Banda MS Is More About Sinaloa’s Musical Tradition And Less About Cartel Violence

Banda MS is a 16-member group of musicians from Mexico formed in 2003 who perform music in a banda style, which is an alteration of Bavarian folk music. The group continues the long tradition of their state of Sinaloa’s port city of Mazatlán, where Germans brought their style of polka with them in the mid-1800s, which has been the source of influence for similar groups since the early 20th century.

In the United States, however, Banda MS isn’t the kind of news one reads about regarding Sinaloa. Featured instead are reports about the arrests and escapes of billionaire drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who lived in the region under the protection of his cartel, giving him “top billing.” The area is also notorious for being home to one of the most feared cartels in history, the Sinaloa Cartel.

The Inquisitr recently reported on the status of “El Chapo” as he awaits extradition to the U.S., which also provides an update of people who are apparently trying to fill the role Guzman vacated.

Last month, Billboard elaborated on the update on Alan Ramirez, the lead vocalist of Banda MS, after he was shot through the neck in the same month while they were touring through Mexico City.

The port city of Mazatlán Sinaloa

In some recent interviews, the vocalist expressed how he experienced pain and fear that he was not going to survive. But there’s conflicting information as to whether his vocal chords were impacted or what kind of stress they were under, perhaps threatening his career. But due to his rapid recovery from surgery, it does not appear to be an issue.

If for a moment, the incident might have put a scare into the band, as there have already been plenty of reports of popular bands and musicians in Mexico being assassinated by cartels. One article by BBC News writes about many of these musicians who have gotten caught up with cartels, which includes details of a large band called Kombo Kolombia who was kidnapped, tortured, and killed in January of 2013, as well as a list of other bands and musicians who suffered the same fate.

According to the article, one artist was even killed for performing a song that was written about ‘El Chapo’ by a rival gang, on their territory.

Many Mexican bands who perform narcocorridos put themselves at more risk than they usually already do.

These bands are generally referred to as narco-traffico bands, and their songs are called “narcocorridos,” which offer accounts of narco leaders and the cartel lifestyle that has grown to be known as a specific genre of music. But it would seem that Banda MS has a hard time trying to shake the label, especially since they have tried to correct the record to say that they are not a narco-traffico band.

The authorities have also apparently determined that the recent shooting, according to Spanish news source Entravision, to not be a deliberate attempt to assassinate Alan Ramirez, due to results they received from ballistics. Still, the article says that they’re investigating. With the current incident, the band is again having to clarify that they’re not a cartel band.

The article also makes the reader aware of Banda MS’ popularity, referring to the 10,000 fans they drew to their final performance before the incident. But as Alan Ramirez completes his recovery, Banda MS is drawing even larger crowds in the states, no doubt as a result of the unfortunate incident as they prepare for a big show in Phoenix, Arizona, later during the month.

One dose of popularity can be attributed to singer Julio Cesar Alvarez, who was with Banda MS from 2003 and 2006 before leaving to start his own very successful musical career.

In the video provided, Alan talks about his recovery and how he cannot wait to get back to continuing their tour.

Thus far, no one has claimed responsibility for the Banda MS shooting, and there have been no arrests.

[Photo by Rodrigo Varela/AP Photo]