Soledad en masa

Saúl Viera, “El gavilancillo,” ten years later

with 56 comments

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Today, April 11th, 2008, is the tenth anniversary of the death of one of the more famous singers from Los Ángeles, Saúl Viera. He was killed in the parking lot of a Denny’s in Bellflower by an unknown assailant; his girlfriend, who was with him at the time, was not harmed.

Chalino in 1992, Saúl in 1998… Both became inmortales for La Que Buena, the only station that plays their songs in L.A. To this day, you still hear La Que Buena playing their music. Go to Huntington Park, South Gate, Bell, or any of the cities nearby, and you’ll hear at least one car blasting their music.

Before reading any further, go to this MySpace page and listen to Viera’s “Los 3 compitas de L.A.” while reading the rest of the blog entry. It should be titled “Los 3 compitas de South Gate” since the only city named is South Gate, but then again, that’s just my own personal bias towards South Gate.

Saúl Viera’s music is as much a part of Los Ángeles as Toddy Tee and Los Lobos: they’re all music created by those who are not part of the American culture. Once they hit it big, the mainstream doesn’t notice. The mainstream didn’t notice Chalino and Saúl filling El Parral or El Farallon, selling cassettes like crazy in swap meets, but to the other “fringe” cultures that exist in Los Ángeles, they were the best, the top draws, the ultimate señores.

The gulf between the mainstream and the “fringe” culture was shown for all on TV when Adan Sánchez, Chalino’s son, died in 2004 (at the age of 20, the beginning of his own artistic career, and in Sinaloa, his Chalino’s home state and where Chalino was killed) and his family decided to hold an open wake in his honor in Norwalk. A large, large crowd gathered and there was no police presence because they did not expect large crowds to come to see Adan for one last time. A confrontation ensued, showing just how ignorant the mainstream is of the “fringe” cultures.

I’m featuring two songs of Saúl Viera’s songs, arguably his most famous, “Caja de muerto” and “Querido amigo”. They were supposed to be this week’s videos, but I decided to push them back and be their own blog spot.

“Caja de muerto” is such a spiteful song. It uses the word pinche and La Que Buena makes no intention to bleep it when they broadcast the song. I love it for the hate in Saúl’s voice.

“Querido amigo” is my favorite Gavilancillo song. There’s just something about the voices of el Gavilancillo and el Rojo de Sinaloa that makes this song for me. It’s also a welcome change from the typical corridos sung by Saúl. Slow, melodic, with a message of fraternal aid and care.

Tune in to La Que Buena today and listen for el Gavilancillo’s songs. I sure hope La Que Buena honors one of their inmortales. As for me, since I’m Boston, away from Mexican music radio stations and in a land where most of the Mexicans at the university have no idea who the fuck Chalino or Saúl were and are (even those from L.A.), I’ll blast Saúl Viera all day from my earphones and my speakers.

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Written by soledadenmasa

April 11, 2008 at 2:58 am

Posted in Music, South Gate

56 Responses

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  1. Good post. One of the best I’ve read in a while.

    Elyery

    April 11, 2008 at 3:24 am

  2. Wow compa, me sorprende encontrar alguien con tan buen gusto y critica por la musica Mexicana (En General) como tu. Exelente reseña.

    chFROMmz

    April 11, 2008 at 3:40 am

  3. Not bad Diegito. Can’t forget “Las Tres Mujeres” and “Catarino y Los Rurales”

    Enrique

    April 11, 2008 at 12:32 pm

  4. great post! it’s really important to document this kinda thing because no one else is doing it and it’s super influential in a city like los angeles.

    chimatli

    April 12, 2008 at 11:48 pm

  5. Elyery, chFROMmz,
    Thanks for the compliment.

    Enrique,
    I didn’t forget “Las tres mujeres” or “Catarino y los rurales”. I’m saving those for later.

    Chimatli,
    I have yet to ask anyone from L.A. if La Que Buena did anything on Friday for el Gavilancillo. I checked many of the Saúl Viera tribute MySpace pages and didn’t find many who mentioned the tenth anniversary of his passing. Even his own fans don’t know about this… I think it’s also important that he, Lupillo, Adán Sánchez, and las Voces del Rancho, are the new faces of the music of L.A. They’re not immigrants, but born and raised in L.A. and updating the music from México with American influences. Adán’s cover of Luther Vandross’ “Always and Forever” is an example of this.

    soledadenmasa

    April 13, 2008 at 11:43 am

  6. Nice to know theres people around the USA that know about this music!!..

    Marlene

    May 5, 2008 at 10:36 pm

  7. Marlene,
    There are a lot of people in the United States who know of this music. Sadly, not a lot of them talk about it online.

    soledadenmasa

    May 17, 2008 at 12:35 pm

  8. Ten years ago. me and some heads from UCLA had a website on corrridos, interviews, lyrics, etc etc…way before this web 2.0 thing blew up…I was amazed how many e-mails we used to get. we ran it off our ucla.edu account. i remember we did a tribute thing to Saul, since that was the year i uploaded it (time goes by quick!!) and had really positive response. there was a whole network of cyber compas doing links…a guy from MIT from Sinaloa, etc etc. the technology wasn’t there for us to do the level of reporting you’re doing now,which is really good.

    our boys down at UCI, Armando Rubio & his brother ran a Radio Show on 88.9 KUCI for many years while they went to school there. they’re from south gate…man they so put it down. look em up.

    they had on air interviews with pre-”Star” Status Lupillo, El As, Almikar y Leonel. People like Los Razos would come jam in the studio. it was hot…fu***ng light years ahead of anything being done in this genre on the air.

    metro_vaquero

    July 31, 2008 at 8:03 pm

  9. of course we’re talking about 1998. I”ll send you photos of the events…made Los Tigres del Norte throw up “Ws” (watts up) for some pics we took with them when they performed at UCLA Royce Hall in 98.

    metro_vaquero

    July 31, 2008 at 8:05 pm

  10. MV,
    Do send them! Should I email you first?

    I’m thinking of joining the campus radio station and getting my own Mexican music radio station on it. There is a growing number of Mexicans in Boston, and they might just need me to make their day…

    soledadenmasa

    July 31, 2008 at 9:19 pm

  11. dang, i gotta find the album (before digital cameras) and scan them.

    you should open that radio station. the success in Irvine was that the majority of the workers on campus were Raza…worked the night shift in the dorms, cleanup of buildings, etc. so there was a captive audience of Raza that would tune in on the FM. Not too mention, KUCI had a good radius of frequency so people from Santa Ana, Anaheim would call in. It was like Art Laboe’s show, people would send shout outs, “la flor de dalia” pa mi novia en Fullerton etc. When the UCI workers called in, that was the sh**.

    metro_vaquero

    July 31, 2008 at 9:53 pm

  12. Wow!This is really good =) I KNEW he was killed in the parking lot of a Denny’s in Bellflower…And yeah, his dad passed away last year(i think).
    I’ve been listening to Saul V. and Chalino since i was in 6th grade. Now im a Senior..lol..It’s really good music, I’d rather listen to this than what other girls usually listen to like rap or reggaeton…(Yeah im a girl and what!)…
    And I almost have all Saul’s CD’s..what can I say, I’m a diehard fan…

    Xtina

    September 11, 2008 at 6:08 pm

  13. saul viera’s dad did not die!! (his real dad i mean) i dont know if he had a step dad but i know his real dad and hes alivejus seen him last weeknd …
    ..MENSA!

    jen

    September 15, 2008 at 6:02 pm

  14. estas si eran canciones no chigaderas como las de hoy y ariba nuevo mexico putos

    fernando

    September 28, 2008 at 2:19 pm

  15. arriva Mexico y todos los plebes. Puros corridos perrones ago “bump” en mi truck. Puro pa delante mi raza!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ps: Arriva el contrabando

    Juan

    October 17, 2008 at 9:48 pm

  16. i think he is cute

    monisa

    November 13, 2008 at 4:23 pm

  17. Y NO SE OLVIDEN DEL CORRIDO DEL SAPO UNO DE MIS FAVORITOS! Y ARRIBA TEPATITLAN JALISCO COMPAS!!!

    EL YEYO

    December 19, 2008 at 7:14 pm

  18. Mi familia vivia en Paramount,CA. igual que Saul a.k.a.PASE kids coe chillin y tambien como ADAN Y CHALINO pero la linea divisoria en Paramount y SouthGate era muy dificil como quieran llamarle estos tres cantantes eran de mi ciudad hace mucho cual era Paramount,CA. d.e.p. mis vecinos viejos.Soy DUREK 1

    noe bracamontes

    March 13, 2009 at 10:46 am

  19. Unos de mis favoritos corridos de Saul Viera es Las 12 Hectareas. siempre le subo a todo volumen en mi carro a esta cancion! Y ARRIBA AGUASCALIENTES,MEXICO COMPITAS!!!

    El Hidrocalido

    March 25, 2009 at 3:24 am

  20. you are right about voces, lupillo having american influences. i happen to have been voces’ and lupillo’s sound engineer for quite some time and it is true. voces listen to metallica, slipknot, chili pepers and so on the list goes on. they take what they feel might work and try to twist it into norteño music. just listen to the bass line in micaela and that double pedal eight notes on that track. all metallica influences.

    juan M

    April 20, 2009 at 12:54 am

  21. REALLY GOOD POST COMPA!FOR REAL MAN,YO VIVI EN PARAMOUNT CA Y SI NO ME EQUIVOCO EL VIDEO DE 20 MUJERES SE GRABO EN EL PARQUE AL LADO DEL FREEWAY,VIVIMOS CON MI FAMILIA SOBRE LA GARDENDALE,COMO A TRES ESQUINAS DEL PARQUE,QUE DESCANCE EN PAZ EL COMPA SAUL VIERA,Y QUE SU FAMILIA HAIGA ENCONTRADO LA TRANQUILIDAD EN SU CORAZON,SALUDOS A MIS COMPAS DE PARAMOUNT,ALEX VELA,ISRAEL,REY DOG,DAVID,TWEETY,Y TODA LA CLICKA DEL SUR.DEL COMPA ”TAZ”

    TAZ

    June 10, 2009 at 10:29 am

  22. puro pa delante raza y zero aguite pa la familia del gavilancillo.savemos que saul, en donde se encuentre se siente orgulloso de su gente,porque hasta la fecha se tocan sus corridos y canciones y sigue pegando machin.yo a mis 13 anos empeze a escuchar sus corridos,y la neta no abia nadien como el.era esa voz y ese stilo unico que le ponia a sus corridos y canciones que llamaba ala gente y hasta la fecha.soy orgulloso de ser mexicano y ser el #1 fan de mi compa gavilancillo yo todavia escuho y canto sus corridos.mucha gente dicen que tengo su voz,e cantado en el parral,y abel orosco dueno me quiso contratar.

    angelino1

    August 23, 2009 at 9:04 am

  23. Great post my man. I always see how proud dominicans and puerto ricans are of their music, and sometimes us as chicanos or mexicanos, we seem to act as if we dont know who we are. I’m proud of our great music, artist such as Javier Solis, Pedro Infante, Jose Alfredo Jimenez and so on and so on. I love Chalinos music, and el Gavilancillo. Keep up the great blogs man. By the way, i hate reaggaton!! lol! I had to get that out of me.

    So_Cal_Man

    October 16, 2009 at 8:32 am

  24. You’re still getting comments on this post… Crazy.

    Elyery

    October 26, 2009 at 8:14 pm

  25. yea iam a big fan of saul viera he is my favorite artist my favorite song from him is caja de muerto well i like all his songs i think saul and chalino were the best

    mauro

    November 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm

  26. MAN!! GOOD ARTICLE I REMEMBER THE DAY HE PAST I THINK THE HOOD FOUND OUT BEFORE MAINTREAM TV OR RADIO OF HIS DEATH…AND ITS TRUE MAINSTREAM DONT KNOW JUST HOW FAMOUS CHALINO,SAUL AND ADAM WERE AND STILL ARE..

    REST IN PEACE BUT THE MUSIC WILL LIVE ON

    VIVA MEXICO CABRONES

    Y PURO APATZINGAN MICH.

    juan from PHX

    November 26, 2009 at 10:53 pm

  27. I was the first sound engineer for voces del rancho from ’97 to ’00… During that time i had the previledge to work alongside Saul Viera and Adan Sanchez…. I remember Gavillancillo recording a english song”Wasted days and wasted nights”THAT THE FIRST SONG I HEARD FROM HIM …. I went to his wake which was held in a church on Soto st. In East L.A. I remember the crowd their to pay respect… A couple of weeks before Saul was assassinated he had invited us to see him perform in a club called DANCING WATERS IN SAN PEDRO, CA I REMEMBER GOING TO KICK IT AND sEE HHIM PERFORM…. He was an always kool down to earth guy like a homie… Wow its been so many years since his passing but his music AND MEMORY lives on…. Puro SINALOA PLEBES… QUE SIGAN LOS CORRIDOS… Q.E.P.D SAUL VIERA “EL GAVILANCILLO” QUERIDO AMIGO

    JUANITO ESTRADA

    March 23, 2010 at 10:53 pm

  28. alguien ha escuchado un disco de saul viera en vivo desde el parral..because i have, one day i went to my compadres tire shop and a guy pull in bumping este disco,i don’t know how he got it or where pero tenia corridos y canciones nunca antes gravadas..cantava el corrido del Rey Luna el que canta chalino sanchez,el corrido del cochiloko y tambien canta la cancion 3 vueltas donde se le va la tonada y luego se repone..si alguien sabe donder encotrar estas rolas hit me up.

    julio

    April 27, 2010 at 6:41 pm

  29. i like!

    BURGLER

    May 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm

  30. This music is great! Was up to all from Compton CA!

    G

    August 29, 2010 at 3:25 am

  31. Well I don’t listen to Saul Viera’s music very often, but I like his music. I mostly listen to Chalino Sanchez. He’s the guy that influenced many other artists because of his style of singing. Saul was one of the artists that was influenced by Chalino. Saul has really good songs though. Y ARRIBA CHALINO Y SAUL VIERA!!!Y PURO JALISCO COMPAS!!!

    Martin

    October 5, 2010 at 12:00 am

  32. yo vivo en south gate next 2 hollydale and paramount ayi esta todo conectado .yo conocia a saul vierra desde la paramount high school antes de que el se icierra cantante cantaba para dios en una iglecia .luego cuando abel orosco el del parral lo oye cantar.le dice te gustaria grabar para mi y asi empeso todo y se iso muy famosos por la canccion de querido amigo las 12 hectarias 3 bueltas el ausente yo yegue ha conoser a su papa fuimos al parque de hollydale yegue a bisitarlo asu casa en paramount me conto muchas cosas de su hijo me enseno fotos que porcierto nos tomamos .era un gran hombre como sufrio por su hijo igual que su madre y hermana mi respetos ala familia vierra .sus cancciones y corridos .ala familia sanches tambien a adan chalino y su madre y hermana cinthia sanches me acuerdo cuando cinthia cumplio 15 se le iso una quincianerra en buena park ayi estaba lupillo rivera edgar aguilar el narquiyo una banda y un norteno .me toco ir .me dicen el venado me gusta cantar la 12 hectarias caja de muerto.sg

    El venado salazar

    November 20, 2010 at 12:53 am

  33. Yo no se xk chingadoz me lo mataron they have no fucken razon para aser eso ,Saul tu siempre estaras en mi corazon nunka te olvidare i love you SAUL VIERA
    atte: Esmeralda Viera B.

    Esmeralda

    December 3, 2010 at 11:19 am

  34. I think he was &still is one one of the singers of corridos.

    alfredo a.

    December 4, 2010 at 8:41 pm

  35. Puro Saul Viera!!!!

    luis garcia

    January 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

  36. He was a great singer,a good looking guy, I love how he sings to the girls on his videos.he was a real don juan.lol.He is missed.

    Susana G

    February 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

  37. Los mejores corridos no como las de hoy valen verga! Pues algunas estan bien pero no como las de antes puro saul vierra a long con los sanchez!!

    El etr0 lok0

    February 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm

  38. Great! I was searching sau viera while listening to TRES VUELTAS .I give saul viera alot of credit for being original. SAUL VIERA was an american born singner that originated a new style of music.Were it became “cool” to sing old mexican and admire our chicanismo. For example jenni rivera. Lupillo.jessie morales.adan sanchez.gerardo ortiz.larry hernandez …etc

    FElipe

    April 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm

  39. dam no puedo creer dat u guys are stil leaving comments

    elondiado

    May 7, 2011 at 3:38 am

  40. Este articulo me da un madral de gusto porque apezar de muerto no nos hemos olvidado de este GRAN cantante… There are a lot of good artist but to me Saul Viera Chalino Sanchez and Lalo El Gallo Elizalde were are and will be the best and no one can fill their boots! ARRIBA LOS CORRIDOS PERRONES ARRIBA E.Los Angeles y ARRIBA NAYARIT!

    KoritaKrystal

    May 18, 2011 at 7:06 am

  41. Does anyone know where i can download the song of el gavilancilla “los 3 compitas de L.A”
    i’d really appreciate it.

    vanessa123

    January 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm

  42. Does anyone know where i can download the song of los 3 compitas de l.a?
    i looked for it everywhere but i’ve had no luck..

    vanessa123

    January 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm

  43. DAVID

    January 3, 2012 at 7:53 pm

  44. RIP Saul Viera y arriba Nayarit mi paisano

    pber1

    January 29, 2012 at 4:14 am

  45. I remember Saul……. This was right before I joined the Navy, I used to hang out with my cousin and a friend of mine from back then. I was introduced to Saul through my friend’s then boyfriend, now husband along with a group of their friends as well. Saul was a cool guy, very down to earth. He was very smooth with the ladies, but that was his personality especially when he was performing at El Parral part of his “image”. Yea we used to joke around with Saul about that. We were all celebrating my Birthday at El Parral and he surprised me with one of my favorite songs, “Puno de Tierra”. Everybody in our table was behind the surprise, that was awesome! This was 1994. A few months later I left for boot camp. I ran into Saul at the clubs a couple times after that when I was in town. I received the news about Saul’s death while I was stationed overseas………. so tragic. RIP Gavilancillo me saludas a Chalino.

    La Navy Girl

    March 7, 2012 at 2:40 am

  46. ok, so theres a song or more of a popurri that starts out with “El Sapo” and then “Corrido de Belen Garcia” and then its just little sippets of major corridos? who sings it and where can i get it? please and thank you!

    margarita

    May 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

  47. damn really amazing reading this post and everyones comments, amazing how their really is people out their listening to corridos everywhere, i was stationed in Missouri for 6 months and how i wished i saw or heard anyone listening to corridos in general pero nada had to come back to my sur cal to hear cars pull up next to me bumping corridos a todo lo que da, i had 2 roomates inthe barracks 1 from temecula, ca and the other from Kentucky me la pasaba playing chalino, el as, el gavilancillo, cadetes,etc out of my laptop haha son enough they were learning spanish aswell good times..proud of my roots and culture and yes corridos are a huge part of me..saludos desde Oxnard, ca Sur Cali hasta Villa Jimenez, Michoacan y que sigan sonando esos corridos.!!!

    805DEVILDOG_USMC

    June 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm

  48. Awesomeee POST!!!! Im a girl and im in college as well! Oo boyyyy all i blast to is Saul Viera and chalino sanchez… once in a while el halcon de la sierra. All these new artist…gerardo ortiz larry hernandez…and movimiento alterado and much more… only talk about decapitation and blahhh…… como dice mi apa… un buen corrido empieza por las palabras… en 1911… les vo a explicar muy bien…jaja.

    Lisa

    July 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

  49. WHAT UP BLOOD R.I.P.BIG HOMEY BUT THE 3 G”S OPEN THE DOOR FOR THE NEW kids TO COME IN.FROM REDCALI253

    HI

    August 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm

  50. Hahahaha, wow. Small world. I was trying to find out who that dude was in Querido Amigo. El Rojo de Sinaloa. I’m blasting some of his jams here at UC Berkeley. Thanks for writing on these matters. I agreed and nodded my head the whole way to the end. Please continue the posts… make a fbook account, too.

    Tilo Lopez (@edguy52)

    September 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm

  51. Saul Viera, the GREATEST.
    Ay mi qavilancillo, chalino y adan cuiden a mi jenni rivera, haqan un concierto en HEAVEN. REST iN PEACE, LOS AMO!!!!!!!

    ANDREA

    December 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm

  52. I won’t ever forget the day our family was headed to his home to celebrate Easter and when we got that horrible call that told us about his death it was devastating bc we didn’t see him as the singer but as family and I’m glad people still remember him bc he is a classic in the corrido music. I live you cousin always and forever

    Elsa Rivera

    Elsa Rivera

    February 15, 2013 at 11:43 am

  53. Saul Viera still listening to your badass corridos, never gonna forget your music… SAUL VIERA R.I.P but always will be remember by your corridos.

    JULIO 213

    March 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm

  54. El gabilan es un rey joben como chalino quando murio los dos tienen una vos es perona arriba sinaloa y california!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Marco

    October 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm

  55. This is good music that will live on forever R.I.P Viera El Gavilancillo

    Luis

    January 26, 2014 at 8:22 am

  56. Yes. Kuci held it down in the late 90′s. Armando and his carnales made that show happen. Chalino Sanchez is number one. Everyone else fights for seconds. IMO. Arriva tubas y acordiones

    El negro

    February 4, 2014 at 8:34 pm


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