Mexico’s music marred by murders

At least six singers slain since last year

Music is becoming a bloody business in Mexico.

K-Paz de la Sierra frontman Sergio Gomez was kidnapped Dec. 2 by a gang of commandos in black Suburbans after performing in Morelia, Michoacan. His tortured body was discovered a day later in a vacant lot.

On Dec. 1, Zayda Pena, leading lady of “Zayda Pena and the Guilty Ones,” was gunned down in her hospital bed where she was recovering from a shooting the day before.

At least a half a dozen singers have been slain since last year in what many have linked to growing ties between musicians and rival drug gangs, whose increasingly bloody turf battles have already led to 2,500 deaths this year, according to national paper El Universal.

Some previous killings targeted “grupero” musicians who openly sang of drug traffickers’ exploits, or reportedly performed at their private parties.

Valentin Elizalde, who was killed in November 2006, hails from Sinaloa, home of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Elizalde was killed after performing his veiled narco-revenge ballad “To My Enemies” in Taumaulipas, base of the rival Gulf cartel. His death catapulted the relatively obscure Elizalde to cult-like status, and sales of his records on Universal’s label soared.

But neither Gomez nor Pena, who were both famous for romantic ballads, had flirted so openly with the narco-chic culture of Mexico’s grupero bands.

Gomez reportedly received death threats warning him not to play in Michoacan, one of the states most wracked by drug violence. Gomez had canceled a show last year after similar threats, but refused to back down this time, according to fellow band members.

Some reports of Pena’s death have pointed to an angry lover as a suspect.

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