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Los Tigres Del Norte Reprise Historic Johnny Cash Performance For Folsom Inmates

Los Tigres del Norte perform in front of about 800 inmates at Folsom Prison in front of the iconic Greystone Chapel.

In 1966, Johnny Cash held his historic Folsom Prison performance for its inmates. The impact of that performance created a ripple immortalized in the minds and hearts of people across the world. 50 years later to the day, Los Tigres Del Norte honored Cash and the Folsom inmates by reprising the performance in their classic Norteño style. 

Los Tigres Del Norte’s Folsom performance was released in a concertmentary on Netflix earlier this month. A quote from their promo highlights the importance of being there for the prisoners:

“Hemos venido a la prisión de Folsom 
a estar con los que se perdieron en el camino.
Cinquenta anos despues del concierto del legendario Johnny Cash,
En California, donde está folsom, el 43% de todos los reclusos son de origen latino.
Como Johnny Cash Venimos aquí para traer luz”

“We have come to Folsom prison
To be with those who got lost along the way.
Fifty years after the legendary Johnny Cash concert,
In California, where folsom is, 43% of all inmates are of Latino origin.
Like Johnny Cash we come here to bring light”

In 2019 32.2% of all inmates across the US are of LatinX origin. When Johnny Cash performed for Folsom in 66’ the inmate population was exclusively male with a majority of white offenders. Today Folsom houses a diverse population of men and women, 43% of which are of LatinX origin. In the concertmentary, the inmates elaborate on the LatinX struggle with immigration, gang affiliation, education, and incarceration. Interviews from inmates on both sides show their reflection on life and what it means for them to witness the performance. 


 Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison on November 8, 1966. The building behind Cash is the backdrop of Los Tigres performance 50 years later. Photograph from the Sacramento Union Archives, D-350.

Music brings people together. The legend of the Folsom performance comes from the hope Cash and Tigres set out to give every inmate. The hope of understanding, rehabilitation, and a better life. Los Tigres Del Norte covers Cash’s famous Folsom Prison Blues in this video. Fans of the original will instantly recognize the song and appreciate Los Tigres style as well as their vocals in Spanish. 

Then and now the inmates see themselves in the performers and their stories. Cash and Tigres music highlights the vibrant tapestry of life in all of its twists, turns, and choices. These performances are a snapshot in time of US inmates spanning 50 years.

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Lo Boutillette

With deep ties to music and the arts, Lo is constantly inspired by her Latin Americana roots and the spontaneity of New York City. When she isn’t planning and perfecting her productions you’ll find her tending to her rose garden with her dog Bella.

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