K-Paz de la Sierra

Duranguense superstars K-Paz de la Sierra are a product of, and perhaps pacesetters in, the regional Mexican music boom that has hit the city of Chicago and since spread throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Thanks to the enormous and regionally diverse Mexican population in Chicago, the city has become a hotbed for musical creativity, and hence a recording industry hub for the genre. K-Paz de la Sierra burst onto the scene in 2003 with their first single, "Con Olor a Hierba," which was quickly followed up by the radio hit "Jambalaya." Just a few singles had stirred up so much attention that when their debut record hit the shelves, Arrasando con Fuego sold better than 32,000 copies in its first week. It wasn't long before the record went gold. Signing with Mexican music superpower Univision went a long way toward guaranteeing their success. K-Paz recorded six more records, three -- 2005's Mas Capaces Que Nunca, 2006's Conquistando Corazones, and 2007's Capaz de Todo por Ti -- reached the top spot on Mexican Regional charts. The group also made two appearances on the Billboard Top 200, for the hits "Mas Capaces Que Nunca" and "Pensando en Ti," an impressive achievement for a group playing a style that the industry barely recognized ten years prior. Tragedy struck the group in December 2007, however, when lead singer Sergio Gomez was tortured and killed after a concert in Michoacan. His brother Juan Gomez took over leadership of the group and in January, Miguel Galindo was announced as the group's new lead vocalist.

There was little harmony within the new lineup. Within eight months, five members, including second vocalist Humberto Durán, left the group to create Majestad de la Sierra, leaving only Gomez and Galindo as K-Paz de la Sierra. The pair recruited new members and in 2009, issued the album Como un Tatuaje -- which went to number four at Mexican Regional Albums and number eight at Top Latin Albums -- as well as a pair of compilations. The touring unit was tight as they played the U.S., Mexico, and South America as well as Spain, but personnel continued to shift behind the two leaders. A final Disa album, Para Toda La Vida, was released in 2011 and reached the eighth position at Mexican Regional albums.

The group split again in 2012, with Juan Gomez and Galindo being charged with mismanagement. They were sued by Felicitas Lopez (Sergio's widow) for ownership of the band's name. She won the court battle in 2016. Keyboardist and musical director Sergio Caballero took over the band's leadership with Jesus Morales becoming its lead vocalist. Longtime second vocalist Luis Eduardo Guadarrama remained and brought in his brothers Gabriel Guadarrama and Roberto Guadarrama on keyboards and tambura respectively; Jorge Garduño on electric tuba and Frank Sanchez on drums rounded out the new lineup. The outfit undertook touring immediately and went back into the studio to emerge with Las Mas Perronas on Discos America in the summer of 2017. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez

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