Updated, July 27, 2020.
As we are approaching the one-year anniversary of the August 3rd shootings, a critically-acclaimed three-decades-old, Bay Area group called Los Niteliters has recorded an original country western single titled “El Paso Strong.” The song will be will be officially released on all digital download platforms on July 31st.
Jesús “Chuy” Covarrubias, who teaches Chicano Studies at San Jose City College, reached out to El Paso News with a press release for the single. Covarrubias said he wrote the song three to four months ago: “I started composing it, and to be honest with you, I was just really touched by the outpouring of community love that there was one in the aftermath.” Covarrubias said he started writing the song a few days after the shooting but that he had put it down for awhile and then came back to it with fresh ears.
Marie Lodi from The New York, The Cut stated “Among the 22 victims of Saturday’s horrific mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart was Jordan Anchondo, a 25-year-old mother who had just given birth to a son two months prior.” Lodi reported that her husband Andre, 24, was also killed in the shooting and that their son “survived and was treated for broken fingers.” KVIA News reported that their baby Paul Gilbert Anchondo, the youngest victim of the shooting, turned one on May 24, 2020.
Covarrubias said he was touched by the Anchondos’ story, and by both parents who died trying to protect their two-month-old son:
That horrible shooting, we’re all family members with a lot of family guys. In the band we all have kids and when I saw this one particular story about the young couple trying to protect their baby and that both of their lives were taken it really hit home and I felt I needed to grab my guitar and start writing the song.
Covarrubias, who is the lead singer of the band, said “you can’t always pick the songs and sometimes songs pick you.” He said he began working on the song in his home studio and then he work-shopped it with the group and before long, it was finished. Members of Los Niteliters include: Jesús “Chuy” Covarrubias (Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Sax, Guitar, Accordion), Joe Olguin (Drums), Charlie Montoya (Bajo Sexto, Guitar), Albert García (Accordion, Percussion), Bobby Espinoza (Bass Guitar) and Joaquin Covarrubias (Trumpet).
Covarrubias said he communicated with Paulito’s grandmother and told her he wanted to record the song. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the single will be used for a scholarship fund for Paulito. Covarrubias said he may play an unplugged version of the song on Facebook Live so people will get the opportunity to listen to the single.
Covarrubias stated “El Paso Strong is a heartfelt song that celebrates the power of the human spirit, of people coming together and the healing powers of when people create community together.” He said he hopes people in El Paso will like it.
On his birthday, Paulito stood in front of his grandparents’ home, as a procession of supporters passed by. He was dressed in a blue regal outfit while motorcycles and cars drove by. In an interview, Covarrubias shared Paulito’s grandmother told him he was donned as the Prince of El Paso.
Los Niteliters have had successes with their music and have shared the stage with Shelly Lares, along with other Tejano artists like Little Joe y La Familía, David Lee Garza, Jay Perez, and Emilio Navaira.
For more information on Los Niteliters, see: https://www.losniteliters.com/. The web site includes several short interviews with Covarrubias that include excerpts of the “El Paso Strong” single.
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