The recordings in this podcast were made in 2015 and 2016 during several visits to the mountainous region of the Sierra Juárez, Oaxaca, in southwest Mexico, in the towns of San Bartolomé Zoogocho, Santa María Tavehua and Villa Hidalgo Yalálag. Roughly structured in the order of the time of day in which each recording was made, they offer an idea of the extraordinary sound-world and music of these villages throughout the course of a day during the fiestas patronales (festivities in honour of the patron saint). Plus a few recordings from non-fiesta times, and ending with funeral music recorded during a wake in Villa Hidalgo Yalálag.
List of recordings in order:
00:07 Students in San Bartolomé Zoogocho warming up before rehearsal, early morning. 02:45 Mid morning sounds in the hills around Zoogocho. 04:42 Drum and whistle music, with clarín de alba (dawn bugle’) played by the late Leobardo García Dominguez, 85 years old, in Villa Hidalgo Yalalag. 06:04 Excerpt from interview with Ana Chino Miguel, native of Villa Hidalgo Yalálag and promotor of the Zapotec language. In this interview Ana responded in Zapotec, her husband then translated into Spanish and finally the translation of the translation was made into English. The spanish is spoken by Lucas Ruíz, and the voice in English is Ana Paula Santana. 11:12 Music during the fiesta patronal in Yalálag. Celebrated in the month of June, the fiesta is an offering to Saint Anthony of Padua, patron saint of Yalálag and bringer of the first rains. 14:16 Sounds from the jaripeo (rodeo) in Yalálag and Santa María Tavehua. 14:48 Advertisement for jaripeo 15:35 Unidentified band during jaripeo, Santa María Tavehua 19:00 Students at Bachillerato Musical Comunitario (Community Musical High School) Zoogocho, during an improvisation workshop I gave there in May 2015. The exercise was to try to imitate the sound of the clarín de alba, as played by Leobardo García Dominguez, in a group of about 30 musicians. 20:50 Songs sung by Joaquín “el Chalino” on the street in Yalálag. Joaquín is a baker from Santo Domingo Albarradas, who is known as an excellent imitator of the singer Chalino Sanchez. 23:18 Pyrotechnics with jarabes yalaltecos in the background in Yalálag. 25:07 Banda Nube from Zoogocho playing sones y jarabes Mixes, and part two of interview with Ana Chino Miguel. 28:33 Religious music in the church of Sainth Anthony, Yalálag. 32:50 Funeral march over town loudspeaker, Yalálag 34:45 Funeral march recorded during a wake in Yalálag, played by Banda Autóctona de Yalálag, late evening. 38:46 Dios nunca muere (God never dies) by Macedonio Alacalá, the unofficial hymn of Oaxaca, played by Banda Autóctona de Yalálag. 44:05 Nocturnal sounds, Yalálag.
“Gani llwya yel goxken'ke Misha ben'za gayolen, ba'benhaw'e da'wlhall'kechho, Ka nhen ga'llechj'da'chho ka bell'ne' badao'yix llaa gan lla'chhon,ka nhen wakoell katen llak lni, kat ga llayoll'nhall bene, kakse benhe bzenhaye kan nhia kan llak nhollnho llake xtill'chho banhe, nhollnho llwelhao'chho len, nha ba' benhe badegak'ten xtill'gake.”
“I am infinitely grateful to Misha for having compiled part of the music from a fiesta, the sounds of nature, the coexistence of the people of Yalálag, the funeral music of my beloved homeland, his recognition of our culture is admirable, from where I invite our countrymen to strengthen our mother tongue, because if our language dies our culture will die. Misha has translated this into his language and it will transcend as it is the same problem that many languages suffer in the world.” Ana Chino Miguel
Thanks to Creative New Zealand for supporting this series of radiophonic works.
Misha Marks was born in Wellington and grew up near Karamea, on the West Coast of the South Island. He started playing guitar around the age of six or seven and later studied jazz and classical guitar at Massey Conservatory of Music in Wellington for two years before abandoning academic studies. Outside of school walls he became involved in the creative music scene of Wellington, based around the intrepid music venue Happy, where he played regularly with local and visiting improvisers, worked at the bar and was the cleaner. After spending time living in Barcelona, Vienna and London he moved to Mexico City in 2008, where he still lives. He plays guitar, baritone horn, tuba and latarra (a homemade electric guitar made out of an old metallic first-aid kit) and is active in the adventurous music scene of Mexico City and beyond.