Marialen Magaña

All photos courtesy of Jose Calvo

Marialen “La Pecadora” Magaña, who had been battling a dire health situation, has passed away this Thursday morning, February 13, 2020. Services are being held Saturday, February 15, 2020 from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home located at 3117 South Oak Park Avenue in Berwyn. Details here.

Marialen was a dynamic radio and television broadcaster, a highly sought after MC and a huge part of the Latin rock community in Chicago. She formed and led the band, Los Pecados de Maria, and her passing is definitely affecting the community of rock en español musicians and bands not only here but across the country.

I remember Marialen as a kind, generous and nurturing soul whose infectious smile always lit up a room. She was so witty, so funny and so talented.

In 2018, Marialen invited a few people into her home for an intimate concert. She had set up the band in her living room and performed a selection of beautiful songs.

The last time Marialen and I got together, she invited me to a cafe she loved because she wanted me to try a lavender latte she found that she was able to indulge in. It was then that she updated me on her health situation and how she had to change her eating habits to help ease the pain of her situation. At the time, she had just been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and it had quickly started attacking her liver. She explained to me that she was hopeful about a new treatment she had found in Mexico and would be leaving soon, for awhile, so she wanted to catch up with me before she left. I didn’t realize it would be the last time I’d see her.

I want to remember the good moments, her laughter, her smile. We reminisced about the underground days of rock en español and the vast number of bands that existed across the city. She was looking to deepen her knowledge of music and was excited to dive into new outlets of creative expression. We talked about friendships, especially the ones we’d both lost as we each grew with newfound knowledge, and we hugged as we talked about our friendship which was starting to blossom.

We walked around after our lattes and went into a little gift shop where we both instinctively headed for and bought incense and sage, laughing at each other for picking the exact same things.

She was a muse to many, an inspiration to me in so many ways, and we are all going to miss her dearly.

However, despite our sadness and grief I know that she would want us to remember her with smiles and laughter.

Jose Calvo, Marialen Magaña, me

Thank you to Jose Calvo, my soul brother, for reaching out as soon as he heard the news and for creating an inexplicable bond. And, of course, for the gorgeous photos he always took of her… his camera loved Marialen. And so do we.