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This educator writes “anti-narcocorridos” – songs that tell the story of the heroes: NPR

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Mexican singer Vivir Quintana talks about her latest song “El Corrido de Milo Vela”, which tells the story of one of the many journalists who were killed in Mexico for doing their job.



AESHA RASKA, LEADER:

Corridos is a popular musical style in Mexico. These are songs that tell a story from beginning to end. Singer, educator and activist Vivir Quintana describes it as a news release that you sing.

KIVTANA’S WIVIR: (Speaks Spanish).

RASKOY: “It consists of the name, date and place where the protagonist was born, and tells how they lived before their untimely death.”

But in recent years, bullfighting has become very popular thanks to one of its variants – drug lords, who use the same story structure to tell stories about bosses or miners of organized crime. In a country where drug violence abounds, there is no shortage of drug addicts. But Quintana, who previously taught in high school, felt uncomfortable when students listened to songs glorifying criminals.

KINTANA: (Speaks Spanish).

RASCOE: She decided to turn the script around and create an anti-drug carnival – songs that the main characters, she said, deserve to be watched as journalists. In Mexico, the level of violence against this group is at its highest. This year alone, nine journalists were killed there.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE SONG “EL CORRIDO DE MILO VELA”)

KINTANA: (Sings in Spanish).

RASKO: “His work was risky, but he did it with passion. For any journalist, oh, how dangerous life is. If you look for the truth, the police are hiding.”

Quintana describes Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco, known as Mila Velo, a Mexican journalist who, along with his wife and son, was killed in the city of Veracruz in 2011. Vela is the central character of Quintana’s latest song.

KINTANA: (Speaks Spanish).

RASKO: “He was a good man,” she says. “He tried to tell the truth, the truth that often made strong people uncomfortable.”

The anti-drug carcass is the result of a collaboration between Quinton and Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organization that defends press freedom around the world. In Mexico, they are focused on raising awareness of the growing violence against journalists.

BALBINA FLORES: (Speaks Spanish).

RASCOE: Balbina Flores is a representative of Reporters Without Borders in Mexico. She worked closely with Quinton to revive Khalid. She says the authorities should take violence against journalists more seriously and conduct a thorough criminal investigation. Quintana hopes that by celebrating Vela’s life and persistent journalism, listeners will understand.

KINTANA: (Speaks Spanish).

RASKO: “Violence against the press is violence against all of us.”

(SOUNDBITE OF THE SONG “EL CORRIDO DE MILO VELA”)

KINTANA: (Sings in Spanish).

RASCO: “There is a flame that cannot be extinguished, even if others try to put it out. There are candles that are eternal, even if swallowed by the sea, like the one from Mila Vela that illuminates the path to freedom.”

(SOUNDBITE OF THE SONG “EL CORRIDO DE MILO VELA”)

KINTANA: (Sings in Spanish).

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