11 April 1998 (aged None)
Saul Viera was born in southern California to Mexican parents who hailed from Tierra Generosa, Nayarit. His career as a vocalist is a product of happenstance as much as artistic will and vision. One evening, Viera went out to a club with a group of friends. Arriving at an all but empty club, Viera decided to try his hand at singing, and took the stage, singing along with the radio. The club owner liked his voice so much that he invited Viera back on several occasions to sing. Viera became known as El Gavilancillo, and began singing on a full-time basis, traveling all over southern California and beyond, with tours reaching as far as Chicago by the end of his career. His likeness in style and vocal timbre to genre legend and folk hero Chalino Sánchez gained him an adoring audience. Much like early American blues musicians, and more recently U.S. hip-hop icons, the trend among regional Mexican artists to come to a violent end is noticeable. Similar to his predecessor Chalino, Saul Viera was murdered in 1998 exiting a California restaurant. In the course of his career, El Gavilancillo recorded 16 records. Best known for his hit "Querido Amigo," El Gavilancillo left an indelible mark on norteño music as one of the style's most beloved singers of corridos. He is survived by his two children, Dulce Maria Viera and Saul Viera, Jr.
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