Los Tigres del Norte
A family band who immigrated from Sinaloa, Mexico, to San Jose, California, in 1968, Los Tigres del Norte are famous for story-telling corridos that give voice to the Mexican immigrant experience. Led by singer and accordionist Jorge Hernández, the band of brothers and cousins began their careers performing norteño music for local audiences and events in San Jose, recording on the independent label Disco Fama.
Their 1974 hit, Contrabando y Traición (Contraband and Betrayal), a romantic story about cross-border smugglers, won them fans on both sides of the border who heard the song not simply as a story about crime, but about struggle and courage. Such themes of border adventures are a staple of the corrido repertoire, as are stories about the difficulty of life in the U.S.
Los Tigres’ 1985 song, Jaula de Oro (Golden Cage), for example, tells the story of an illegal immigrant who, despite his material comfort, still needs to hide from the law and is saddened by his children’s lack of interest in Mexico. As a voice for Mexican working class immigrants in the U.S., Los Tigres del Norte have performed for over 40 years, have sold over 30 million records and have received five Latin Grammy Awards.