Chalino Sánchez

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Chalino Sanchez
Chalino Sánchez holding a M1911 while looking right to a camera and leaning over the window of what appears to be a van
Chalino posing with a M1911 pistol, c. 1990
Rosalino Sanchez Felix

(1960-08-30)30 August 1960
Las Flechas, Sinaloa, Mexico
Died16 May 1992(1992-05-16) (aged 31)
Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico
Cause of deathGunshot wound to the head
Burial placePanteón de Los Vasitos
Culiacán, Sinaloa
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1984–1992
Marisela Vallejos Félix
(m. 1984)
Children2, including Adán Sánchez
Musical career
  • Vocals

Rosalino Sánchez Félix (30 August 1960 – 16 May 1992), known professionally as Chalino Sánchez, was a Mexican singer and songwriter. He specialized in Regional Mexican music and was especially famous for his corridos. Chalino's son Adán Chalino Sánchez was born 14 April 1984, and was also a Regional Mexican singer in his own right.[1]

Early life[edit]

Rosalino Sánchez Félix was born on "Las Flechas", a small ranch in Sinaloa, Mexico. He was the youngest of 7 children. His parents were Santos Sanchez (?–1964) and Senorina Felix (?–1991). Chalino grew up poor and lived a difficult life. His sister, Juana, called him a curious and mischievous child who always dreamed about becoming a singer. His birth name is Rosalino, but he later changed it to his nickname Chalino.[2]

In 1975 when he was 15, his sister was raped by "Chapo" Perez, a rich and dangerous man.[citation needed] Two years later in 1977, a 17-year-old Chalino saw the man at a party and allegedly shot him in revenge, killing him.[3] After committing this act, Sanchez left for Tijuana with his gun and a Jesús Malverde chain. During his time in Tijuana, he worked as a "coyote" (an immigrant smuggler), bringing immigrants into the United States.

The same year, Chalino himself crossed into the United States as an undocumented migrant worker. He began in Oregon and later moved to Los Angeles to live with his aunt in Inglewood, California. He washed dishes, sold cars, and, according to his friends, dealt small quantities of marijuana and cocaine. He also helped his older brother, Armando, run an immigrant-smuggling operation.[4]

Chalino met Marisela Vallejos through his cousin, Rosalba; in 1984 they married in a simple and intimate wedding. They married with their son, Adán Sánchez, on the way and had a second child, Cynthia Sanchez. They were married until Chalino Sanchez's death in 1992.


In 1984, Armando was shot and killed in a hotel in Tijuana, which inspired Chalino to compose his first corrido, or ballad.[5] Around this time, Chalino was arrested. He began to compose songs for his fellow inmates and anyone that had a story worth telling.[6] Chalino began to earn money through his compositions and would be gifted with guns and 'presents' by his customers. Among his many customers are Lucio Villareal, El Pelavacas,[7] and Jorge "El Coquio" Castro. A small group known as "Los Cuatro de la Frontera" recommended Chalino go to a recording studio in Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles. The studio was called San Angel Records and was owned by Angel Mariscal. Originally another artist was meant to sing Chalino's songs, but he cancelled, so Chalino sang his own songs.

In 1989, Chalino recorded his first cassette of 15 songs. While selling his cassettes out of his car trunk, Chalino stocked tapes at local swapmeets, bakeries, and various other businesses across South Central Los Angeles. Chalino connected with another Mexican immigrant, Pedro Rivera, who had set up a small recording studio in Long Beach, California. Called Cintas Acuario, this studio allowed aspiring musicians to record for cheap.

Chalino and Rivera pioneered the "prohibited corridos" (corrido prohibido), songs that mythologized drug smugglers, murderers or "valientes". The Cintas Acuario roster (which later included Pedro’s children, Lupillo, Juan, and the late Jenni Rivera) was not initially aired on radio, but they became the foundation of the Latino genre in Los Angeles.

Promoters across the Southland quickly sought to book Chalino at their clubs. Chalino sang his songs, in his cadence and Sinaoloan slang, something no big singer had ever tried to do.[8]

1992 Coachella incident[edit]

On 25 January 1992, Chalino was hired to sing at Los Arcos night club in the desert city of Coachella. During his performance, Eduardo Gallegos, 34, a local unemployed mechanic of Thermal, California, under the influence, jumped up on stage and began firing a small .25 caliber pistol at Chalino. Chalino pulled a 10 mm pistol from his waistband and began a running gun battle chasing Gallegos. Four hundred people were in attendance of which seven to ten people were reportedly hit in the exchange. Among them was Chalino and the group accordionist, Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Hernandez. A local man, 20-year-old Claudio Rene Carranza was killed. A bystander wrestled and killed Gallegos with his own pistol. Chalino was in critical condition and underwent surgery at Desert Hospital, Palm Springs.

The shooting made ABCWorld News Tonight as well as both English and Spanish-language newspapers. Chalino saw success with his sales and began getting airplay, although it was a single, old-fashioned, non-narco song called “Nieves de Enero”. His next Los Angeles appearance at El Parral, doors had to close at 6 pm, 5–6 hours before he was due on stage.[9][10][11]


On 15 May 1992, 4 months after the Coachella incident, Chalino performed at the Salon Bugambilias, Culiacán. Before Chalino was ready to sing another song he was handed a note from someone in the crowd, the note told Chalino that if he doesn’t stop singing they would kill him. Chalino crumbled the note up and continued singing. After midnight, Chalino drove away from the club with two of his brothers, a cousin, and several young women. They were pulled over by a group of armed men in unmarked cars. They showed state police ID cards and told Chalino their commandant wanted to see him. Chalino agreed and got into one of their cars while the others followed behind.[citation needed]

At 6 am on 16 May 1992, two farmers found Chalino’s body by an irrigation canal near Highway 15, near the neighbourhood of Los Laureles, Culiacán. He was blindfolded and his wrists had rope marks. He had been shot in the back of the head twice.[citation needed]


Since his death, his fame and recordings have grown in popularity. Chalino still amasses millions of streams nearly 3 decades after his death and remains popular with young Hispanic listeners.[citation needed]

Select discography[edit]

  • 1989 17 Exitos
  • 1990 13 Mejores Exitos
  • 1990 Homenaje a Pollero
  • 1990 El Bandido Generoso
  • 1990 A Todo Sinaloa
  • 1991 Nieves De Enero Con Los Amables Del Norte
  • 1991 Alma Enamorada
  • 1991 El Pavido Navido
  • 1992 El Pela Vacas
  • 1992 Adios a Chalino
  • 1992 Chalino Sanchez Con Vaquero's Musical
  • 1993 Chalino Sánchez Con Banda Brava
  • 1993 Chalino Sanchez Con Mariachi
  • 1993 Chuyita Beltran
  • 1994 Desilusion
  • 1995 Hermosisimo Lucero
  • 1995 Corridos Con Mariachi
  • 1995 Recordando A Chalino
  • 1995 Más Éxitos Con Chalino Sánchez
  • 1996 15 Éxitos 15
  • 1996 Chalino Sánchez Con Los Amables Del Norte
  • 2001 Canta Corridos Al Estilo Culiacan
  • 2002 Colección De Oro, Vol.1
  • 2002 Corridos De Los Felix Y Los Quintero
  • 2002 Mis Mejores Canciones
  • 2003 Cantando Con Sus Amigos
  • 2005 Corridas Con Banda
  • 2006 Historia Musical
  • 2007 20 Éxitos Inmortales
  • 2007 Duranguense Con Banda Brava


  1. ^ "Hoy se cumplen 10 años de la muerte de Adan "Chalino" Sanchez" (in Spanish). KQQK. March 27, 2014. Archived from the original on October 29, 2017.
  2. ^ Src=', <img Class='guest_author_avatar Avatar' Style='width:20px;height:20px'; d=mm; Weekly, r=g'/>L A. (1998-07-29). "Sing Now, Die Later". LA Weekly (in American English). Retrieved 2021-05-26. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  3. ^ "El Valiente: Chalino Sánchez | Al Otro Lado | POV | PBS". POV | American Documentary Inc. (in American English). 2006-01-17. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  4. ^ Src=', <img Class='guest_author_avatar Avatar' Style='width:20px;height:20px'; d=mm; Weekly, r=g'/>L A. (1998-07-29). "Sing Now, Die Later". LA Weekly (in American English). Retrieved 2021-05-26. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ "Shazam". Shazam. Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  6. ^ "El Valiente: Chalino Sánchez | Al Otro Lado | POV | PBS". POV | American Documentary Inc. (in American English). 2006-01-17. Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  7. ^ "El pela vacas LETRA – Chalino Sanchez". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  8. ^ "Twenty-Five Years After His Murder, Chalino Sánchez Remains As Influential As Ever – OC Weekly". Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  9. ^ Valdemar, Richard. "Chalino Sanchez and the Narcocorridos". (in American English). Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  10. ^ News, Deseret (1992-01-26). "Gunfire at Nightclub Kills 1 Man, Injures 10, Including Performer". Deseret News. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  11. ^ "El Valiente: Chalino Sánchez | Al Otro Lado | POV | PBS". POV | American Documentary Inc. (in American English). 2006-01-17. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  • Quinones, Sam. (2001). True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle King, Chalino and the Bronx" University of New Mexico Press