MEXICO CITY — Ariel Camacho, the lead singer of the popular norteño group Los Plebes del Rancho, died in a car accident early Wednesday on a highway near the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He was 22.
His death was confirmed by Justino Aguila, a spokesman for his label, DEL Records. The police said that two of the three other people in the car were also killed.
Mr. Camacho was returning from a performance at a music festival, Carnaval de Mocorito. He had been on tour with his group, whose name roughly translates as “the ranch’s plebeians,” promoting their album “El Karma.” It was not immediately known what caused the accident or who was driving.
Mr. Camacho, who played guitar and wrote songs as well as singing, was idolized by youngsters in rural Mexicoand had begun amassing a fan base on the other side of the border.
He was known for his original narcocorridos — accordion-driven ballads telling of the violent lives of drug traffickers. But his fans, and the musicians he worked with, argued that his message was broader. He himself referred to his songs as “campirana”: music for farmers.
He had posted a video on his Facebook page a day before his death, inviting his fans and “all the beautiful ladies out there” to attend his next concert.
Narcocorridos, which some say glorify Mexican drug traffickers, date to at least the 1930s. They have evolved into different subgenres, which often describe the lives of the poor and those who seek power through violence. Mr. Camacho’s songs ranged from the usual tales of drug traffickers, brawls and money to romantic ballads.
Mr. Camacho, who was from Sinaloa, was regarded as the heir to popular figures in norteño music like Valentín Elizalde, also known as El Gallo de Oro (“the golden rooster”). He was killed in the city of Reynosa in 2006 after performing a song whose lyrics were believed to have antagonized a drug gang.
Mr. Camacho was praised for maintaining a classical element in his regional music by paying attention to the songwriters who had come before him. He was also a frequent collaborator with other corrido singers, including Gerardo Ortiz, Regulo Caro and Luis Coronel.