by Dan Gibson
Jenni Rivera, who played a few shows in Tucson, most recently at AVA in 2010 and 2011, died yesterday when a plane she was riding on crashed near Monterrey, Mexico, where she had just performed.
I can't possibly pretend to be an expert on the regional music of Mexico, but I always had a soft spot for Rivera's music, partially because she ran a distinctly alternate course to the male-driven, somewhat misogynist tone of most of her peers. Rivera had a lot of personality and made great music. She was seemingly ready to make a move towards American mainstream stardom, with a sitcom coming to ABC in the future, which makes her untimely death a bit sadder, if that's possible.
Worth reading, Gustavo Arellano's 2003 cover story for the OC Weekly:
Yet Rivera has trumped Mexico's endemic sexism to emerge as the most important member of the Rivera family, one who not only recorded groundbreaking music but also smashed the female stereotypes that have always blemished Mexican music. One of the few females who sing narcocorridos—a genre in which bards sully their guitar laments with a worldview that treats women as little more than breasts to adorn record covers—Rivera introduced through song the radical notion that women could be depicted as flesh-and-blood creatures. And for this, a gender is forever grateful.
"I'm blessed to be able to say that, when I'm onstage," she remarks with genuine bewilderment, "people stare and listen."
Rivera was 43.