El Komander, who was fined for performing narcocorridos in Chihuahua.
Image Facebook/ El Komander

Audiences in the northern Mexican city of Chihuahua might have a taste for narcocorridos, but its government doesn't want to hear it. In the last month alone, four musical acts have been fined for violating a law prohibiting the performance of songs in the genre - one which often heralds the exploits of drug cartel members. The latest target of such a fine was Alfredo Ríos, better known as "El Komander", who held a show at a baseball stadium in the state this past Saturday and saw himself docked 100,000 pesos, or about $8,000.

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The ban on narcocorridos was originally put into place about two years ago after a shootout occurred at a concert by Los Tucanes de Tijuana. But a further restriction announced recently requires that all singers of narcocorridos provide a list of songs to be performed in advance in addition to a deposit of $8,000. If they stray from the list into unwelcome territory, the authorities will keep the deposit. That's what happened to El Komander last Saturday, after authorities reportedly spent several weeks deliberating over whether or not to grant El Komander a permit to perform at all, given the nature of his catalogue - one full of tall tales of pistol-packing drug traffickers and cartel dons.

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The toughening of the restrictions was spurred by the return of Los Tucanes de Tijuana, who played at a music festival this past June in Chihuahua City and accepted the fine of 23,000 pesos for the content of its songs. Afterward, the city upped the fine to 100,000 pesos. Even still, the bands keep coming. Marco Quezada, the city's PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) mayor, is determined to bear down on them.

"For the rest of my administration's time in office, I will not grant a single other license. That much I can assure you," Quezada told Reforma. He added that the fine levied on El Komander will go to youth programs to help stop the "drug trafficking subculture".

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Other bands who have seen themselves fined for performing narcocorridos include the MS band, Los Recoditos and Colmillo Norteño as well as the international superstars Los Tigres del Norte, who in 2012 were banned from performing in the northern state capital.

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