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Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma make history on pop charts

Eslabon Armado and Peso Pluma made Latin music history this week when their ballad “Ella Baila Sola” (She Dances Alone) skyrocketed to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the first regional Mexican song to reach the Top 10.

Released on March 17, “Ella Baila Sola” has also become the first regional Mexican song to hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Global 200 (which ranks the top songs in digital sales and online streams across the globe). It also currently tops Spotify’s Top 50 USA streaming chart.

“Ella Baila Sola” is just one of many regional Mexican songs that have surged in popularity through TikTok, where young Mexicans and descendants of Mexicans coalesce around the sounds of their heritage.

Originating in Patterson, Calif., the four-piece group Eslabon Armado have popularized the yearning acoustic romanticism of música sierreña, or the folky mountain music of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations, which is powered by a requinto guitar. The group built its fanbase with ballads like 2020’s “Con Tus Besos” and 2021’s “Jugaste y Sufrí” with Danny Lux; the latter debuted at No. 69 on the Hot 100, marking the band’s first placement on the mainstream American chart.

All five Eslabon Armado albums have topped Billboard’s regional Mexican album chart.

Upon writing “Ella Baila Sola,” Eslabon Armado vocalist Pedro Tovar invited Mexican singer Peso Pluma (which means “featherweight” in Spanish) to the studio. “I didn’t really expect it to be such a big hit,” Tovar told Billboard in April. “I previewed it on my stories on Instagram and two days after it went viral on TikTok, and that’s when I knew that the song was going to do big numbers.”

Pluma has enjoyed an unusually rapid ascent in the last month. Born Hassan Emilio Kabande Laija in Jalisco, Mexico, the lanky 23-year-old gained his following primarily through circulating his gangster-fied corridos on platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Spotify — where he has overtaken Bad Bunny as the most-streamed artist in Mexico.

The mainstream success of Eslabon Armado and Pluma could not have happened without the support of existing Mexican stars, who toiled their way up the Latin charts for years. Rancho Humilde alum and corridos tumbados pioneer Natanael Cano featured Pluma on two back-to-back singles: “AMG” in 2022 and “PRC” in 2023. Those songs, along with Pluma’s past releases “Por Las Noches” and “La Bebe” with Yng Lvcas, all joined “Ella Baila Sola” in the Hot 100 on the week of April 11.

L.A. pop star Becky G, who collaborated with Pluma on the song “Chanel,” welcomed the singer to Coachella’s main stage during its Weekend 1 festivities. (Bad Bunny notably followed suit last weekend by inviting regional Mexican band Grupo Frontera to crash his Coachella set to perform three songs, plus their joint single, “x100to.”)

Keen to further capitalize on this moment, Pluma has established his own boutique label, Double P — a subsidiary of Anaheim indie Prajin Music Group — and announced his first U.S. tour, which will kick off July 20 at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood. And on Friday, Pluma is slated to perform on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

“I’m living a life I never even imagined,” wrote Pluma in a since-deleted tweet. “A Regional Mexican singer on Jimmy Fallon… WAKE ME UP!”

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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