Live: The charming Los Tigres del Norte | Music
INDY Week's music blog

Archives | RSS

Monday, February 23, 2009

Live: The charming Los Tigres del Norte

Posted by on Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 7:34 AM

“They’re like the Mexican Beatles,” says Edgar Ramírez, waving a tri-color bandana and sporting a heavy, black felt cowboy hat covered with the signatures of Los Tigres del Norte in calligraphic, silver Sharpie ink. Outside of Disco Rodeo, fans endure freezing temperatures to pay $60 to see these Godfathers of Norteño, but Ramirez won free VIP access on La Ley 96.9 FM’s call-in contest.

click to enlarge Suits by Manuel of Nashville.
  • Suits by Manuel of Nashville.

Meanwhile, Merch sellers patrol the floor with signable stuff—cowboy hats, photos, T-shirts, stuffed toy baby tigers. “Tigritos,” a border guard once dubbed the four juvenile Hernández brothers when they first came to the U.S. in 1968. Now, 40 years and over 55 albums later, Los Tigres del Norte are acknowledged as the definitive chroniclers of the “American dreams” for Mexican migrants.

The band’s most recent CD, Raices (“roots”), is full of ranchera standards, but in the gritty, electrified norteña style Los Tigres pioneered. No wonder, then, that tunes from the album like “Sangre Caliente” sound as classic as your granddaddy’s jeans must have felt from the stage. Jorge Hernández, the eldest of the brothers and lead vocalist, is a storyteller from the old school, bringing his moral might and dramatic toolbox to corridos that were hits—“La Banda del Carro Rojo” and “Contrabando y Traícion,” for instance—as far back as the ’70s. With an accordion hanging off one shoulder, Don Jorge gesticulates as he sings, scooping his white hat into the air with a timed flourish, or standing on a bended leg before jolting upright and stabbing a raised index finger into the sky.

Except for drummer Oscar Lara, Los Tigres—Hernán, Eduardo, Luis, Jorge—paced the stage with patient restlessness, glittering in bolero suits designed for them by Manuel of Nashville (the Mexican designer who tailored for Elvis, Johnny Cash and all three Hank Williamses). When a female fan climbed onstage, no security guards whisked her away. She kissed each of the Tigers in turn, and they smiled and posed for pictures. Then, without ado, she slipped back offstage. Naturally, once set, the precedent continued like controlled clockwork, until security decided to stem the parade.

Still, it was remarkable to see border-jumping fans received with such civility and indulgence by artists so huge. No wonder they’re affectionately known as “Los Jefes de Jefes”: The Bosses of Bosses.

“Why do you give so much to your fans?” I wanted to know, grabbing a minute with Don Jorge backstage as they prepared for more photo ops.

“We’d feel guilty if we didn’t,” he said. “Our fans have supported us for so many years. They deserve everything.”

With the same welcoming graciousness, he kissed me on the cheek, and thanked me for the interview.

Tags: , ,

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music

Twitter Activity


I was proud to call him Uncle Willy cousin with the same birthday

by Blackfoot on Proud to call him Lumbee: Willie French Lowery, 1944-2012 (Music)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

I was proud to call him Uncle Willy cousin with the same birthday

by Blackfoot on Proud to call him Lumbee: Willie French Lowery, 1944-2012 (Music)

Revive is my people. If folks were offended by this, I can assure you it wasn't intentional. Revive Music was …

by Matthew Allen on Art of Cool Festival, Night One: Revive Big Band's Music-History Concert Leaves Out Women to an Absurd Degree (Music)

Small crowds like the one in Utrecht The Netherlands where I was with my 7 year young daughter may be …

by George Hendriks on The blues of Randall Bramblett's career-long cult status—and the promise of his new Devil Music (Music)

Wow! I am speechless. Skylar that was amazing! You are very talented. I love your vocal range and passion. Thank …

by Rita Romaine Rakestraw on Video Premiere: Phil Cook and Skylar Gudasz Nod to Alice Gerrard in New Tribute Clips (Music)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation