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Sonoro and Futuro Studios Debut ‘Ídolo: The Ballad of Chalino Sánchez,’ a Podcast about the Godfather of Narcocorridos

The eight-part podcast series examines the extraordinary life of the Mexican singer-songwriter and attempts to unravel the mystery of his unsolved murder.

Courtesy of Sonoro and Futuro Studios

LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK — Sonoro and Futuro Studios premiered the first season of Ídolo, a new series that recounts the history of Latin American popular culture through fascinating stories of the people who made it. Each season focuses on a different Latin American cultural icon, their extraordinary lives, and the global legacy they’ve left behind. Season One, “The Ballad of Chalino Sánchez,” is an eight-part bilingual audio series that will tell the story of Chalino Sánchez, the hard-living Mexican singer/songwriter whose execution-style murder thirty years ago, remains unsolved.

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“At Sonoro, we are telling new stories in new ways. We are pleased to expand into the nonfiction space with the launch of Ídolo, the audio-first franchise we are building in partnership with Futuro Studios, which we expect will connect with Latinx and global Hispanic audiences. Our host, Erick Galindo, is the perfect collaborator for us, as we take a look at Chalino Sánchez, the musical icon whose impact is felt around the world—even thirty years after his death. At Sonoro, our global team is uniquely positioned to tell his story in both English and Spanish, from each side of the U.S.-Mexico border. Stories like these are a critical part of our mission to expand and diversify what Latinx content looks and sounds like globally,” said Camila Victoriano, Co-founder and Head of Partnerships at Sonoro.

“This podcast sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It’s part cultural history, part murder mystery, and part memoir told from the hosts’ perspective,” said Marlon Bishop, Futuro Studios’ VP of Podcasts. “It’s a gripping narrative, but also tackles deep topics around the costs of violence, the meaning of storytelling, and the Mexican American experience. I can’t wait for people to hear it.” 

The show will be told on both sides of the US-Mexico border by English and Spanish-speaking journalists with deep ties to the story of Chalino Sánchez. Erick Galindo, a five-time Telly Award-winning writer, director, and producer, is the English language host reporting on the U.S. story. Galindo also hosts and is the head writer for the hit immersive storytelling podcast WILD for LAist Studios and the co-creator and executive producer of the Mexican Beverly Hills for CBS. The Spanish version reporting on the Mexican perspective is hosted by Mexican journalist and musician Alejandro Mendoza. Mendoza was editor in chief of V66, a blog for Vans, and editor in chief of VICE en Español, where he worked among journalists from the United States, México, and South America.

“I’ve been trying to tell Chalino’s story for almost a decade because he meant so much to so many people in my community. His music and style empowered Mexican American youths to embrace their culture and helped recent immigrants to the U.S. feel seen. He basically changed music and culture for us. And yet, his tragic murder was never really investigated and his incredible story is rarely told in mainstream media. For me, it never felt like there was closure. Until now. In this series, we dive into all of the myths about his life and theories about his death in both English and Spanish. So that anyone who ever had any questions could have them answered. And anyone who ever loved him like I did could immerse themselves in Chalino,” said Erick Galindo, host of “Ídolo: The Ballad of Chalino Sánchez”.

Each episode dissects Chalino’s enduring musical legacy and his immense impact on culture while breaking down the various theories about who could have ultimately killed him. Despite Chalino being one of the most famous Mexican musicians of all time, very few have explored his legacy. He was known as the voice of the controversial folk-music genre “narcocorridos,” whose lyrics tell of the exploits of drug smugglers and cartel bosses. The genre is said to glorify the violence and exploits of men who are facing poverty, government corruption, and disempowerment. 

“There are tens of millions of Chalino superfans who want to delve deeper into this story. Chalino’s music was a connection to home for many Mexicans living in the US. That’s why we wanted to pay homage to the godfather of narcocorridos, by giving him his own narcocorrido. Each episode of the show features an original corrido we created about Chalino and a new verse summarizing each theory about his death. To do this, we connected with musicians from both sides of the border, who worked with Sonoro’s in-house composers and producers to write the melody and lyrics that bring the story to life,” said Jasmine Romero, Sonoro’s Head of Development.

This project is the first collaboration between Sonoro and Futuro Studios, Futuro Media’s creative division focusing on original podcasts and programming. 

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The trailer is out now—you can listen HERE. The series launches today with eight episodes in the first season on Apple podcasts and across all podcast platforms.

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