Los Tucanes de Tijuana: The “Mother Theresa of Corridos”

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Providing Regional Mexican music to their fans, Los Tucanes de Tijuana is comprised of 5 members.

Providing Regional Mexican music to their fans, Los Tucanes de Tijuana is comprised of 5 members.

The renowned Conga Room presented their first concert of 2014 last Thursday night featuring Los Tucanes de Tijuana.

Los Tucanes de Tijuana, with a career spanning over 20 years and winners of innumerable awards, are set to launch their new album titled Corridos Time.

Fans in attendance were part of a great night, during which they had the opportunity to hear the world premier of the album’s first single, “Soy Parrandero,” as well as other songs from the album and their greatest hits.

In an exclusive interview for Living Out Loud, lead singer and founding member Mario Quintero Lara spoke about the first single from the group’s new album, song selection and corridos, among other things.

Living Out Loud: Tell us about your new single, ‘Soy Parrandero,’ and speaking of which, does the group party?
Los Tucanes de Tijuana: Yes, I think all of us party, especially recently. We just got back from vacation and it was great being able to party with our family and friends. It was nice being able to reconnect after a full year of working hard. This single we want to promote, is a very appropriate song to party and dance to, so you can have fun and enjoy life.

LOL: What can you tell us about this new album?
LTDT: This album was composed and produced by yours truly, with the help and support of my group members. We recorded in California because we have our studios here. As a matter of fact, we began recording a year ago this week. We would work on the songs throughout the week, and go back to the studio to record on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Everything went smoothly. It’s an all-corrido album, with 15 in total.

LOL: How did you go about selecting the corridos in the album?
LTDT: We began with 30, and recorded 25. For this album, we decided to narrow it down to the 15 we liked the best. We believe they are the most appropriate to begin our three-part series. The rest will be out in the next two releases. Fortunately, corrido albums are very dynamic – you release an album and a month later people are asking you when the next one will be coming out. People digest these songs quickly and want to hear more and more each time.

LOL: Has the ban for singing corridos in Mexico affected your songwriting?
LTDT: We’ve always said that our corridos are very easy-going. We think of ourselves as the Mother Theresa of corridos because we always try to guard them, and to not use vulgar or offensive lyrics. We always try to write them as nice stories about valor, etc. However, we understand that they’re not for everyone.

LOL: What are the positives and negatives about singing corridos?
LTDT: I don’t see any negatives to singing corridos. The reason we were banned was NOT for singing them, because everyone sings them. It was something personal directed to our group, and as unfair as it might be, we have no idea why. That said, the only negative aspect of singing corridos would be the unfounded criticism we get from the media, who judge us without knowing who we are or what we’re about. Perhaps, if I go back to the group’s beginnings, I would find lyrics I’m no longer proud of because of what I’ve learned throughout my career. So moving forward, we’ve learned to be more careful about what we say because of the bans. We know we can’t promote corridos on radio, etc. Also, we’ve made our lyrics a bit more light, and more lively to fit with the current trend.

LOL: It’s a known fact that you are not allowed to perform in Tijuana, yet there have been rumors about being able to return there soon. Any truth to those rumors?
LTDT: Yes. There’s a very positive vibe for the start of the year with businessmen in Tijuana. In fact, we had meetings in San Diego and were presented with very promising ideas. That, along with the new municipal administration, gives us high hopes of returning to Tijuana. Once we know more about how it will work out, we’ll announce performance dates.

LOL: The group is known for making music videos with high production value, and featuring famous actresses and models. What do you guys have in store for upcoming videos?
LTDT: We’ve done great work with very famous and talented ladies. While shooting the video for ‘Soy Parrandero,’ we hired models from agencies in Spain, Colombia and California (places where we shot the video). For future projects, we have a few ladies in mind, but we haven’t made any decisions yet. In the past, we’ve shot our videos with talent such as Ninel Conde, Alicia Machado, Galilea Montijo and many others.

LOL: How did the collaboration with Banda El Recodo come about?
LTDT: We have a great friendship of many years and mutual admiration with that group. They even recorded a song I wrote titled, ‘Clave Privada.’ It was a song that brought me recognition and as a songwriter and opened many doors for us, so I’ll always be grateful to them for recording it. There is a point in the video that alludes to this. They have always offered to record with us to support us, and so we did, in San Diego.

LOL: Speaking of the bad rep that corridos receive about instigating violence, what can you tell the people of Michoacán who are currently suffering from extreme violence?
LTDT: We have many friends and fans from there. We visit that state year after year, and we always mention it in our songs. I would say, use intelligence instead of violence. We have to unite and behave well. What I see on the news makes me very sad. We have to think before we act, and pray to God to watch over us and hope that peace returns, not just there but in all of Mexico and the world.

Ramon Aviles is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment.
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