On Sunday morning, a plane carrying Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera, 43, crashed south of Monterrey, in a mountainous region of northeastern Mexico. There were no survivors. Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, an authority with Mexico’s transportation and communications, described the scene on Televisa [translated by the Associated Press]: “There is nothing recognizable, neither material nor human in the wreckage,” he said.
Rivera was born in the U.S. to Mexican immigrants and grew up in Long Beach. She was notable for her contribution to the popular ‘banda’ style of music, typically reserved for male singers in regional parts of Mexico. She became an icon after selling 15 million records, garnering three Latin Grammy award nominations, and hosting three reality television shows. The most recent, “I Love Jenni,” ran for two seasons on mun2.
Her hit songs included the ballad “Por Que No Le Calas,” translated into “Why Don’t You Try It,” and a cover of Freddy Fender’s “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” performed accompanied by trumpets, percussionists, and tubas.
A mother of five, Rivera had been married three times, most recently to former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Esteban Loaiza, whom she had divorced. On Sunday evening, Rivera performed for a taped recording of NBC Universal’s “The Voice” in Toluca for Mexican television. After the taping, she reportedly said: “Perhaps trying to move away from my problems and focus on the positive is the best I can do. I am a woman like any other, and ugly things happen to me like any other woman.”
Listen to Judy Muller today on “To The Point” discuss the legacy of Jenni Rivera with KCRW contributor Gustavo Arellano, below: