Honduras is a violent country; even making music can be a dangerous activity. Certainly if you get involved with the local drug cartels, as the Los Plebes de Olancho group did. One former band member was murdered and singer Manuel Chirinos fled the country after being threatened. The problems result from the 'narco ballads' in which the group specialises: serenades to drug dealers, praised in the lyrics as courageous businessmen. Such ballads regularly cause jealousy between the drugs cartels, as a result of which the musicians become involved in their bloody competition.
The film uses a radio interview with Manuel as a framework to tell the group's story, juxtaposed with images of the musicians’ everyday life and performances. The rural lifestyle seems very pleasant until you notice how many men are carrying arms, how nervously people react to a brutal murder in broad daylight and how threatening the mood is at a private performance for a drug dealer.
Part of Scopitone Cafe, an eclectic mix of documentaries about music and how it is experienced. Stick around for fun, a chat, and live music by Ramón Balderas. The bar is open! Free admission.