February 6, 2011

La Música Callejera, Pt. 1 - Chihuahua

Street Music of Mexico and Central America
July-October 1995
With a single bag and a handheld tape recorder
I stretched my savings out for 4 months traveling second-class, staying in the cheapest rooms, and taking home sounds for souvenirs. Inspired by Alan Lomax recordings, and a tape from the public library called Street Music of Java, I recorded music in the streets, buses, trains, cafés, and zócalos along with all their glorious noise. At the time, it enabled me to be with people and places without having a camera in front of my face. Sometimes I taped discreetly and at others I set the machine on a table and let it run. I edited it down to one tape and made copies for friends and family. Listening to it now brings back memories better than any photo album ever could. I'll post all 90 minutes and liner notes, in parts, by location, until I get to the end of the tape - and the trip.

Dedicated to street musicians making a living
peso a peso.

1) The train took me southbound through the Sonoran Desert, then northeast through the Copper Canyon, open windows on the passenger cars, no light at night except for the lit ends of cigarettes, attached to a long line of freight cars also carrying passengers; migrant workers returning home. Spent one night half-sleeping on a station platform with the metallic roll and crash of coupling boxcars. 2) José the tap dancing harmonica player doing El Rancho Grande. 3) A conjunto of blind men. 4) La banda del carro rojo, a narcocorrido by Los Tigres del Norte, done in an original style. 5) My little friends Luisa and Miguel making a meal of chicharrón y coca-cola....

La Música Callejera - Chihuahua

Próxima estación: Zacatecas

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