Carin León Mends Broken Hearts With Vibrant & Soulful Coachella Debut

Over the past years, Coachella has been committed to integrating regional Mexican music into its lineup, with previous performers including Banda MS, Grupo Firme, Natanael Cano and Los Tucanes de Tijuana. This year, among the música mexicana stars were Peso Pluma and Carin León, both making their Coachella debut this year — a nod to the genre’s continued global and mainstream rise.  

On Sunday (April 14), before León took the main stage around 5:30 p.m. to chants of “Carin, Carin,” a video played showing images of the singer face-to-face with a potent lion who runs wild across a desert. The ferocious animal is then immortalized onstage with a massive wooden-shaped lion wearing a tejana (cowboy hat) erected in the background.

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The sun was beginning to set in Indio, Calif., when León took the stage, and it was the perfect vibe for his soulful tunes and tremendous vocals that roared across the desert and pulled spectators that perhaps had never heard of the Sonora-born artist. With his live band — consisting of more than 20 musicians that played the tuba, accordion, guitars and drums, among other instruments — León didn’t hold back in his performance, understanding the significance of this moment on the main stage.

Viva México chingada madre,” he said, extra prideful of being Mexican, and representing a genre that has long been a backbone of Latin music. “Dónde están dolidos (Where are those who are hurting)?” he asked, setting the tone for a set that could mend broken hearts. He began singing the hits early on, not wanting to waste a minute, from “Me La Aventé” to “Te Lo Agradezco,” “Corazón de Oro” and his bilingual country song with Kane Brown, “The One (Pero No Como Yo).”

It didn’t take long for León to get ahold of a Mexican flag, which he held onto tightly. He then burst into the hip-swiveling “Que Vuelvas,” his collab with Grupo Frontera. Of course, it was a perfect opportunity for him to showcase his mesmerizing dance moves that have now become a staple at his shows. The irresistible huapango “La Boda del Huitlacoche” followed, which inspired a massive sing-along, and fans couldn’t help but show off their zapateado moves, literally dancing up a storm in the desert.

He transitioned to rock en español with a spot-on cover of Hombres G’s “Te Quiero.” And after that, he brought out Mau y Ricky for “Llorar y Llorar,” marking the duo’s first time at Coachella. Nearing the end of his almost 50-minute set, he winded down with a fan-favorite, “Si Una Vez,” honoring one of the greats, Selena Quintanilla, and then went on to perform “Primera Cita.”

“Thank you for this first time,” he said before stepping off the stage. “Arriba la raza, arriba Coachella, but more than anything, arriba la música.” He closed with the hit song “Según Quién,” his 2023 collab with Maluma.

Other Latin artists who performed at Coachella this year included Young Miko, Bizarrap, Santa Fe Klan, Ludmilla and J Balvin, who was night three’s pre-headliner (just before headliner Doja Cat).  

León is also set to also make his Stagecoach debut on Friday, April 26.