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Cali Rivera Makes Cowbells Like No One in the World, Ask the Best Percussionists

CREDIT: JAZZ NIGHT IN AMERICA / YOUTUBE

Every Cowbell is Made One-by-One

“I’ve been a cowbell lover all of my life,” says Cali Rivera, who lives in the Bronx and has been making congas, bongos and cowbells for the greatest percussionists in the world like Bobby Sanabria, Eddie Montalvo, Tito Puente and Giovanni Hidalgo.

“We don’t advertise, we don’t promote, the musicians do,” his wife says. And people call from all over the world to get their hands on a Cali-made instrument.

READ: These are the 9 Types of Salsa Dancers

Rivera has been making the instruments since he was a kid, “My father used to make the instruments like the guitar. He used to make it, but we were the helpers.”

And there’s a special technique to his beloved cowbells: “If you get the right metal you get the right sounds. Strong metal, strong bell. Bend it. Hit it with the hammer. Weld it. And that’s the bell right there,” he says.

Will Ferrell is for sure jealous.

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By Day He Herds Cattle and Moonlights as a Cartel Killer

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By Day He Herds Cattle and Moonlights as a Cartel Killer

Cartel hitman
CREDIT:  DARIO LOPEZ-MILLS / AP PHOTO

Although he’s eliminated 30 people since the age of 20, this cartel killer has no regrets and feels his work is necessary to protect his community.

“A lot of times your neighborhood, your town, your city is being invaded by people who you think are going to hurt your family, your society,” he says under anonymity to the AP. “Well, then you have to act, because the government isn’t going to come help you.”

The 29-year-old defends his cartel’s territory near Acapulco, in the  Costa Grande of Guerrero and near the farmland that produces heroin poppies and marijuana.

He disappears people for various reasons, but mostly because they work for a rival cartel or have shared information. By ‘disappearing’ he means kidnapping, torturing, and killing. When he tortures he does it in three ways: simulated drowning, beatings, and waterboarding. He also uses electric shocks to the testicles, tongue and the soles of the feet. Most of the time he gets the information he needs and ends the ritual by killing the person and burying them where no one will find them.

READ: How El Chapo Makes $80K from a $5K “Investment”

Although he remembers the number of victims he’s killed and where he buried them, he doesn’t remember the person. “Over time,” he says, “you forget.”

Since there are so many cartels in Mexico, there are many more killers like him. In fact, since 2007 the number of the disappeared has reached 26,000 in the country, 1,000 just in Guerrero. But he says the problem is much bigger than the officials report.

Because he only has a grade-school education, he raises cattle for a living and does the cartel killing as a side job. In terms of his future, he says, “I don’t really see anything.”

Read more about this problem and the cartel hitman’s fears here.

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