Editors’ Notes “The key has always been respecting our different ideas, beliefs, and ways of thinking,” singer Oswaldo “Walo” Silvas tells Apple Music. Over the course of two decades, Banda MS has taken the musical traditions of Mexico’s Sinaloa region beyond what anyone thought possible, under the expert guidance of founder and musical director Sergio Lizárraga. Their new album, the vibrant El Trabajo Es la Suerte, captures the essence of the band as they balance between a glorious past and a thriving present, one where they and the banda genre they represent can stand side by side with the new faces in Latin pop. “We have done a few things outside our usual style, very relevant to the times, the youth, and the language of today,” he says. “This record represents almost two years of work in the studio, and it reflects the music that we carry in our hearts, music that has been around for centuries and will always be with us.” Together with Alan Ramírez, his partner behind the microphone, Silvas guides us through the stories behind 18 new songs that prove them to be world ambassadors of a timeless genre.

El Trabajo Es la Suerte
Ramírez: “This came from Johnny Zazueta, who is in Los 2 de la S with Omar Tarazón. He once told me that the idea came from his dad and how he would always tell him that money will never grow on trees and you have to work hard for it.”
Silvas: “There was a time when violence, drug trafficking, and all that started to creep into corridos, but banda music has never been about that. Years ago we decided to record corridos about hard work, about people working to reach their goals and dreams. That’s exactly what ‘El Trabajo Es la Suerte’ is about. There is no such thing as luck. Sometimes people like to tell us how lucky we’ve been, but they don’t know that it’s been 17 years of just work, work, work.”

Cerrando Ciclos
Ramírez: “Edén Muñoz wrote this; he’s different from any other writer. ‘Cerrando Ciclos’ is a really beautiful song. As soon as we listened to it in the office, we said, ‘This one has to make the record.’ And here it is, with a full-on delivery. I think people are going to love it.”

No Me Interesa
Ramírez: “I struggled with this one because I couldn’t get the tempo. I couldn’t get ahold of it, especially the part that starts', ‘Tú ya perdiste la oportunidad… [You already missed your chance…].’ Some of the words are really long, and I had a hard time there.”
Silvas: “It reminds me of Juan Gabriel, who used to write these really long, offbeat lines.”

Romper el Hielo
Ramírez: “This is the last song that came to us. It’s by Edgar Quiñonez, who gave us ‘Dime’ too. It’s a different kind of tune and it has a very ranchero vibe.”
Silvas: “Many times you’re already done with the record and you get a song so good that you can’t leave it out and you end up pulling another one out, but this time we decided to keep them all in. That’s why there are so many songs on the album.”

Me Cansé
Ramírez: “This was written by Javier Rochín, a young guy from Culiacán who has already written four or five songs for us. He sang it for us in the office and we just loved it. It’s one of my favorites.”
Silvas: “Oftentimes writers think that we’re looking for big names, that we only record songs by the famous guys. And it’s not like that. Javier Rochín, for instance, is a new talent that just connected with Banda MS. Good songs are the only thing we’re looking for.”

Esto Se Va a Descontrolar
Ramírez: “Sergito brought this one. He’s Sergio Lizárraga’s son and he’s in a band called Plan de Escape. He’s just a kid, like 17 or 18, and he writes really fresh lyrics. This is a song that’s going to catch on with the younger generation.”
Silvas: “He’s new blood, a kid with stories that people his age can easily relate to. These songs can make a big difference in a genre that’s over 200 years old. Accordion is not typical of banda music; it comes from norteño. But for years we’ve been trying to use it in at least one song on every record.”

Altamente Probable
Ramírez: “My buddy Omar Tarazón and Edén Muñoz wrote it, if my memory serves me. As soon as we started playing it in dances, people just went for it.”
Silvas: “As soon as we hear a song, we can feel whether it’s going to work for Banda MS. With composers like Omar, Edén, or Espinoza Paz, there is always that chemistry. The idea is for people to identify the song as Banda MS even before the vocals come on, just hearing the music and the arrangements. There were songs that didn’t work for us and then became hits for other bands.”
Ramírez: “And then people go, ‘What did I tell you? You should have recorded it!’”

Lo Haces Difícil
Silvas: “This one is by Espinoza Paz. It’s about those stormy relationships where you love someone so much that you fight to keep it afloat but the other person is just not interested. And here I have to say that Alan is the best singer in the world. When he goes into the booth, he gets into the song and gets into the character’s skin, too. He never fails to amaze me. Anyone can sing, but to interpret a song, that’s hard to do.”
Ramírez: “You have to really get inside the character. When I go in the studio, I always turn the lights off. And then I have the bad habit of carrying the lyrics on my phone. I read them over and over until they click.”

La Casita
Ramírez: “Most people in Mexico have family in the United States and haven’t seen them in years. This song is about someone living over there, working hard to build a house in their hometown in Mexico. A lot of them don’t make it and they never come back.”
Silvas: “This one is for all the immigrants in the United States. It’s a really nostalgic song. For a lot of people I know, the dream never became real and they’ve grown old in the United States without getting what they went looking for. It’s also the story of a lot of people across the border still fighting for it.”

Gracias por Eso
Silvas: “There are very few things that I would change about my past, because in the end even if they were negative or sad or painful, they have all been part of the process to get me to where I am today. That’s what this song is about: Someone hurt you, they brought you down, but it’s thanks to them that you can be happy with someone else. It’s an idea that I love: You suffer, you get back on your feet, and you move forward, because life goes on.”

Dime
Ramírez: “This one came from Edgar Quiñonez, a local musician from Mazatlán who used to play with a norteño band. It’s a really nice little bolero, kind of different, too. At first, I couldn’t get a hold on it, I didn’t really understand it. It’s one of those songs that takes a little longer to process, but when once you get it, you can really make it your own.”

Redes Sociales
Silvas: “Oh my, the social networks… You share something privately and the next thing you know your wife is looking at it. It’s just a funny song.”
Ramírez: “Omar comes up with all kinds of songs: cumbia, ranchera, corrido, ballads… He started writing it in the office, and we love it because we hadn’t had a cumbia in a good while. And this is one you can really dance to.”

Tu Carta de Retiro
Silvas: “Los 2 de la S, Omar and Johnny, have written many songs for Banda MS. When Sergio heard this one, he told them he wanted it for Banda MS and Omar confessed to me that it really hurt him to give it away, even though he knew it could become a bigger hit, not because we’re better but because we have a wider reach. But it’s okay—Omar can write an amazing song and then write an even better one an hour later. This is the kind of ranchera you can slash your wrists to.”

Lo Mejor Que Me Pasó
Ramírez: “Another one by Rochín. We love his style, the feeling he puts across in a song.”

¿Dónde Están?
Silvas: “This is one of my favorites. It’s about something that happens a lot in life, when your so-called friends come to you and later you realize that they're only around because they want something from you. The lyrics are about how the people you have by your side when everything is good, when you have something to give, vanish into thin air when you need them.”

Tratando de Sobrevivir
Silvas: “Edén Muñoz wrote it. Teenagers are really going to relate. When you grow up, you realize that sometimes you lose, sometimes you win, and it’s all fine. You mature and life goes on. But when you’re a teenager, you’re new to the workings of love and you feel like your life is over when someone leaves you. This is an old man’s advice for depression, for when they tell you this will pass, time heals all wounds, and all that, but nothing makes you feel better. I found it very profound.”

Antecedentes
Silvas: “‘Antecedentes’ is one of the songs I sing. I loved it from the moment Omar Tarazón showed it to us. He’s a great writer and a great singer, and it wasn’t easy to come up with a delivery that was different from his. The lyrics explore a relationship where you feel like you’re wasting your time, which is the most valuable thing you have.”

¿Quién Pierde Más?
Silvas: “In relationships, sometimes you lose the thread, you get lost and you no longer see or appreciate what you have. This song ponders whether you’ll find what you’re looking for once you move on.”
Ramírez: “Joss Favela wrote it. We recorded two different versions, with banda and acoustic.”
Silvas: “Acoustic versions are important, because they made us the first Sinaloan band that gets played in pure pop stations, even in the United States. No one else can say that.”

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