About the Artist
The Tigres were at first only locally popular, but took off after Jorge and Art Walker heard a Los Angeles mariachi singer perform a song in the early 1970s about a couple of drug runners, Emilio Varela and Camelia la Texana. There had been occasional ballads (corridos, in Mexican terminology) about the cross-border drug trade ever since Prohibition in the 1920s, but never a song as cinematic as this, featuring a woman smuggler who shoots the man and takes off with the money. After getting permission to record this song, Los Tigres del Norte released "Contrabando y Traición" ("Contraband and Betrayal") in 1974. The song quickly hit on both sides of the border, inspired a series of movies, and kicked off one of the most remarkable careers in Spanish-language pop music.
In Norteño/conjunto form (a style featuring accordion that originated along the Texas border region), Los Tigres del Norte have been able to portray "real life" in a manner that strikes a chord with people across the Americas. Many of their most popular songs consist of tales or corridos about life, love, and the struggle to survive in an imperfect world. They regularly touch on the subject of narcotics and illegal immigration, but they have also shared stories of love and betrayal between a man and a woman. Together, the band and its public has turned norteño music into an international genre. The band has modernized the music, infusing it with bolero, cumbia, rock rhythms, waltzes, as well as effects of machine guns and sirens integrated with the music.
The band has won five Latin Grammy Awards and sold 32 million records.
On January 9th, 2007, Los Tigres del Norte was honored as a BMI Icon at the 14th annual BMI Latin Awards. Los Tigres, who were saluted that evening with an all-star musical tribute, were being honored as BMI Icons for their "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers." They joined an elite list that includes such Latin music giants as Juan Luis Guerra and Carlos Santana.
They have performed before the United States Armed Forces in Japan and South Korea
In 2010, the band made headlines by joining in a massive international boycott of the US State of Arizona, in response to the state's new and controversial Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.