I’ve never been much of a norteño music fan and I’m sure that my therapist will tell you that it’s because my father used to listen to it. However, I’ve recently found myself appreciating the genre a lot more.
For Day 9 of my LATINX Heritage Month Series, I will like to discuss the norteño legends Los Tigres Del Norte. A group that has created songs that speak to the struggles that Mexicans face on a daily basis. They make music that helps Mexican-Americans feel closer to home and never was that more evident than in their new documentary, Los Tigres Del Norte at Folsom Prison.
Following Johnny Cash’s footsteps, Los Tigres Del Norte performed at Folsom prison and have released a documentary about it, which is now streaming on Netflix. Los Tigres have been known to make music for the marginalized and for those who feel like they don’t have a voice. Which maybe is why, them choosing to play at a prison, makes complete sense.
Regardless of what you may think of the inmates at Folsom Prison, Los Tigres use their music to bring a moment of levity for them. For some of the inmates, the music serves as happy memories, for others it’s what they use to hold on to their sanity and the impact of the band is felt throughout the entire documentary. The film follows a number of inmates as they recall their story and how they found themselves incarcerated at Folsom Prison. They tell stories that involve drugs, murder and bad decisions that catastrophically altered their lives; yet, at the core of this documentary is the reminder that all humans are equal. Though these men and women are now paying for crimes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we lock them up and throw away the key. A strong and compassionate message to send during these wild times.
Los Tigres Del Norte continue to be resilient and wonderful examples of what the Mexican dream can amount to. They exude infectious Mexican pride and have created an emotional and necessary journey with their documentary.