November 2, 2007

Calaca Press Presents Its newest Book

Conjunto norteño: Relatos para la plebada

Narcocultura, norteño and banda music, and the Sinal-oense character, all appear in Conjunto norteño: Relatos para la plebada (Calaca Press, 2007), the first fiction collection by local journalist Pablo Jaime Sáinz.

The writer will present the book at the San Diego State University Love Library on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. That same day he will be a guest on Univision’s morning talk-show Despierta San Diego at 6 a.m. Then on Thursday, November 8, at 5 p.m., he will present the book at Centro Cultural Tijuana.

Conjunto norteño portrays the effects of drug trafficking on daily life on both sides of the border, but seen from a critical point of view, full of sarcasm and irony, but more than anything, full of humor.

Written completely in Sinaloense Spanish, the book includes 12 short stories immersed in the sounds of the accordion of norteño music, from the tuba and tambora of banda music, and the colloquial language found in Northwestern Mexico.

At the same time it is a critical look at the machismo, the sexism, and the racism, that surrounds narcocultura.

In Cómo escribir un narcocorrido the reader can learn how to create hit singles in regional Mexican music; Las garras del vicio tells the story of a teenager who idolizes Los Tigres del Norte and their music; Historia completa de la Guerra del ’92 is a fictitious account of the Los Angeles race riots of 1992.

Tijuana writer Luis Humberto Crosthwaite writes that Conjunto norteño: Relatos para la plebada is “an explosive book that fires phrases like an AK-47. Perfect for Sinaloenses and wannabes.”

For Culiacán writer Élmer Mendoza, “Pablo Jaime Sáinz was able to portray the accent, the humor, the slang and the daily life of a deafening reality, to create a literary piece that surprises dueto its force and precision.”

Almost a year ago, when banda singer Valentín Elizalde was murdered after a concert on November 25, 2006, the media and the public turned their eyes to Sinaloense music, narcocorridos, and the so-called narcocultura (drug-trafficking culture).

In Conjunto norteño: Relatos para la plebada, Sáinz, who was born in Sin-aloa but grew up in Los Angeles, doesn´t promote drug trafficking or violence: He simply tells it as it is.

“I think that my book is like a narcocorrido that tells reality as it happens, even if it’s violent,” said 28-year-old Sáinz.

Pablo Jaime Sáinz is a binational journalist that writes about culture, entertainment, and Latino themes for publications such as The San Diego Union-Tribune and it’s Spanish-language weekly Enlace, La Prensa San Diego, El Latino, Frontera, among other regional newspapers.

Conjunto norteño: Relatos para la plebada is the first Spanish-language book published by Calaca Press, an independent small press based in National City that in November celebrates 10 years of promoting literature among the Chicano and Latino community of San Diego.

For more information on Conjunto norteño: Relatos para la plebada or to schedule an interview with the author, please visit,, or send an e-mail to

Return to the Frontpage