Musica Popular Mexicana; 4
Program culture of the department at the university. And now you are Tom Stanford assistant professor in the U.S. Department of music and John Fryman. Tom on our programs before today we have dealt with the music from a fairly wide ranging areas of Mexico. Today we're dealing with only one city that being to want to pick. Would you give us some of the historical and geographical background of the city. Well John it's not exactly to want to pick which is the perhaps a larger city in the Isthmus area. It's a small town of about thirteen hundred population called whammy Lula. This town is a particular
interest in the history of that region of Mexico because it was one of the first towns which was settled by the Spaniards in the 16th century and a convent was set up in that town. This region is also i feel of importance to the history of Mexican music in that this is the one area where I have been able to document the use of Mexican colonial music until as recently as 1939. The Indian group in this area is a group called the Chong tieless which are at present time situated in two geographical regions within the state of one hock in Mexico. This particular group is the cost of the group which is on the coast and this group is perhaps the least Indigenous of the two living as it does in an area which has been in contact with the mestizo culture for such a long period of centuries is our first selection from this group today.
Yes it's a song for solo voice a love song called me who had a seat up sung in God. Yeah yeah yeah.
Where those some exotic the native Mr. Muntz what with the extraneous sound in the background in the background. Those were some small turkey hand guys that were in the room when the song was recorded in this particular town. The the preacher of the book not a preacher or Catholic minister but of a Texan americanus and had of a small pile of musical manuscripts dating from the last half of the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth century approximately And did he maintain these in the name of the church or were they his own personal possessions. They were in the name of the church they were in the sacristy. Beside the church it's interesting that there is notice of the Dominicans having established a convent in this town but there are no ruins of the convent or whatever and it's a matter of fact the present church which is fairly new is even
itself to the point of falling because the effect of the frequent earthquakes which beset that particular zone or these structures built by the natives. Yes no other labor in the towns by natives I would include the mestizos. Actually there's very little difference between an Indian and a misty So in this particular zone beside what they think of themselves and whether or not they speak the Indian languages. Normal course of affairs in this particular town there are a number of important fiestas during the course of the year. The two most important probably are holy week when they realize the processions representing the passion of our Lord and the fiesta of St. Peter and St. Paul which they celebrate during the week which culminates with the 30th of June.
During this latter Fiesta they have a very elaborate ceremonial. They have some seven dance groups within the community which is really quite extraordinary I think if you keep in mind that there are under fifteen hundred you know population the town probably in the vicinity of thirteen hundred. You'll see that practically everyone in the town is involved in this. You have the Turks a group of dancers that call themselves the Turks and dress in very elegant and very bright colored costumes. You have another group which is called the negroes. You have another group which is called the martini Yes. We'll talk a little bit more about them later because I think this is an quite an interesting phenomenon. We have the Christians themselves who are actually fighting battle with the Turks.
And a number of other groups which perform smaller roles around a central drama which takes place during the week. As I said culminating in the 30th of June. The next recording that we'll hear is a recording of a dance which is normally used in weddings it's the first dance which the bride and the groom dance together after after the wedding. And in this particular case it was being played for the wedding of LA niña a cock crocodile which the muddiness had brought from a swamp down closer to the ocean. And I was in this case the one who is getting married to the crocodile I had to embrace the animal in my arms and and dance the song with it after my wedding. You did this personally. I was dancing with a crocodile.
At the. Time you took me completely by surprise with all this recording you say that you were dancing with a crocodile in your arms at the time that recording was made. Yes I was dancing with the niña as a matter of fact I even appeared on the news reels in Mexico dancing with this because there was a photographer on hand and what was the condition of this niña crocodile at the time he wrote. Of course it was. It was tied head and feet but I even saw it was a little bit dangerous as far as the tail was concerned because every now and then you could take out and hit somebody with a tail. This helps too. But this poor animal had been caught about a week previously down in the swamps as stated by the monuments.
And they had brought it up to the town and I had had it time had for that period of time. Feeding it was her only and of course the poor animal was half dead by. By the time I got around to dancing with it. But they had been carrying it around the town during the fiesta and and one of the martini was who represented himself as the father of the crocodile was saying that his that his daughter had come from a land far away and was looking for a boyfriend with whom to get married that she wanted a fellow who had money and and who would be would treat her well and take good care of her. And he had his whole tribe along with him. They might even use refers to a town which is a little bit farther down the coast from the Tyler region called San Mateo of the month which is one of the larger villages of the famous group of Indian group called the Wallabies who are
notorious for their aggressiveness and for driving outsiders out of their region. And it's interesting here that though the plates themselves are Indians they still are representing what is in their concept a real Indian which is the Wabi from farther down the coast within this fiesta. They have their faces painted with with linemen water. And they have a paint can and a paint brush and they during the Fiesta they paint the faces of of all the spectators as much as they're able to I think the day I was going around with my training as I was probably painted about 12 times. And of course the line was really irritating I had my face completely completely red from the irritation of this line that I had washed off quickly because it burned all of this with a love of the recording. That's right. The next selection is a recording of the orchestra of the
mudane yos Now this is an orchestra which is made up of pieces of instruments. Somebody singing it into the bottom half of a saxophone or or one of the musicians even had a column that he was singing through and no one was beating on a child's toy drum which was made out of metal it didn't have a drum head on it properly. And they were singing a song which is still popular in Mexico at the present day la Bondi stop borracho the band is drunk. And which they had learned on their transistor the Japanese transistor radios. It. With the end. Of. The in.
The. Bank. Thank. You ok. Tom you referred earlier to the fiesta I think Peter in St. Paul in this particular area. See our next music is from that fiesta. Yes as well as the previous two recordings which were recorded in the chorus of the same fiesta. But I think we might elaborate a little bit more here upon the nature of this fiesta. You have a group of of Moors or Turks actually they call into it of course but in the Mexican mind even in the 18th 17th and 18th centuries these terms were confused the real meaning the real significance of the term Turk or more was in Fiddler somebody who did not believe in the Christian faith. And you have these very
wealthy supposedly well-dressed Turks arriving in the community. When they're on their boat which is actually a wagon with two masts and sails mounted on it which is called La bada kind of a ordeal which would mean the the the gold ship the ship which carries the gold supposedly. But it's also a play on words because that's the name of a song the romantic love song which was popular in Mexico about 50 years or so ago. These Moore's rhyme for these Turks arrived in search of negro slaves that had escaped them. And these negroes are another one of the groups of dancers in the Fiesta who are identified with the local inhabitants. We the Turks arrived with a paper which states that they are the owners of the land where they're arriving there was a say. The Indians are foreigners in their own
country as it were. My my I asked this question right here it is occurs to me time and again. You're describing this fiesta that I say well I suppose it's an annual occurrence. Is it a set thing or every year. Does someone add something new to it so it's a continually evolving thing or is it extremely traditional and it's a procession. No I would say that what is traditional about it is the purpose mostly because the details of the fiesta do vary for example. We didn't see this when we were doing our field work there but in previous years they had had a telephone line between the between the headquarters of the Turks and the headquarters of the negroes. So if they could talk by telephone of course. In the days that they were representing in this drama a telephone was unknown and of course this is just typical of the sort of clowning the play do in the course of the fiesta. The
second ship that they have is called El VOP Bort which means the vapor or the steam ship and which the the Turkish King The arrives on arrives in on the 30th of June the last day of the Fiesta to try and settle a disagreement with the with the negroes. The negroes set up a fence at the edge of their territory what they believe is their territory and the Turks arrive and want to enter and show a document which states they are owners of the whole country. And even so the negroes won't let them through. And in a ceremonious way during several consecutive days the Turks arrive at line would I. Yeah which is supposing the a wall which separates the negro territory from the from the territory which borders with theirs and
try to get through and finally they do get through and finally they're able to prove with a judge who is the actual judge acting in the town hall that they do have proper documentation and that they are owners of the land. And here in becomes comes the confusion and and in this confusion the whole Fiesta is developed up to the 30th of June when for some unknown reason apparently the Christians enter the picture. The Christians I don't have much to do with the celebration up to that point but they arrive on the 30th of June to fight a battle with the Turks and to vanquish them as Christianity always Bank which is the infidels and that is what the next recording represents it represents the close of the fiesta of St. Peter and St. Paul at the end of the recording you'll hear the town president over a loud speaker
saying be even of the people of of why me Lula VEBA to be judge and so forth. Even the rather leave the foreigners who are visiting the town. And. Thank God.
I seem to hear a definite martial air in that music. Yes this is flute and drum music which is martial music in the medieval tradition. This was a sort of music which the Mauritian Christian armies alike use during the battles of Spain for example. But now here we did not hear two or three musics going together one time as we have earlier. No this is just one music and it's the music that properly goes with the with the Turks and not with the Christians. We also heard the sound of the machetes this swords clashing against each other as the rivaling bands were worded. What we're doing and and of course shortly after this episode the the Christians are vanquished the MORs and the battle was over. Now moving on to the next selection the other principal celebration and
why me Lula would be that of Holy Week and they celebrate Holy Week with processions that represent as I said before The Passion of our Lord. And as he was tried in his he was finally carried to the cross and crucified and his resurrection. These processions are very large for such a small town especially I would say that certainly the majority of the inhabitants of the town participating that they have still have religious paraphernalia some of it dating from the 18th century undoubtedly like a silver pendant and a large cane a lot of love. Silver also which they take out just for these processions especially at the church of sun sebastián when the images of
our Lord on the cross and of his mother. My dear they lost a lot of us meet each other on the way to the cross. Are these recessions purely Roman Catholic in nature or have they brought in certain elements of the native religions prior to this time. Well no there are definitely Catholic conceived. The only thing that does happen however in a realistic sense is that these groups have been on the margins of modern life as it were and they're not up to date. That is to say as the dog of the Catholic Church has been evolving in recent centuries these communities still continue practicing Catholicism as it was taught to them by the early fathers so that for example the chronology of the fiesta does not agree or these processions does not agree with the chronology at present accepted by the Catholic
Church as a say the days when different parts of the ceremony take place. There has been some accommodation recently with the with a Catholic minister the Texan who was there at the present time. But by and large there still are elements of earlier Catholic belief associated here. These perceptions take place with with bands. One of them takes place with a with a baritone saxophone playing one single low note in the manner of a dirge or for the period of perhaps a half an hour that the procession is going round the outside of the town. There is also another music which is used in association with these perceptions and which you will find quite commonly in many parts of Mexico. I have classified it as passion music. The
characteristic of this music is the alternation of a wind instrument with a drum. In this case the wind instrument is a flute. However very commonly it's kind of a primitive Sean in one way Lula. This piece is called tonal.
Well Tom this is an interesting too or of why my luck in the district of Tijuana effect. Where do we go on our next program. The next program will devote itself to the music. As a matter of fact the next two programs devote themselves to the music of the mystic Indians on the coast of the state of one just south of the port of Acapulco. This will be on the Pacific Coast on the Pacific coast. Yes I group which has more Oh I well I the wealth of music in the in the case of why me Lula. However I feel that why me Lula is especially interesting to us here as it represents a typical Mexican town where others will find again some very exotic material in the mystic region.
- Musica Popular Mexicana
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- Musica Popular Mexicana is a series of programs which explores traditional regional music and dance forms of Mexico, with a special emphasis given to the history and culture of the Mexican people. Each episode focuses on specific regions and forms, with commentary from Mexican musicology expert Thomas Stanford. The program is produced in cooperation with the Department of Music and the Center for Intercultural Studies in Folklore and Oral History at the University of Texas Austin, and is distributed by the National Education Radio Network. Sound recordings are provided by the Center for Intercultural Studies as well as the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico.
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-26-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Musica Popular Mexicana; 4,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 18, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-ff3m1j79.
- MLA: “Musica Popular Mexicana; 4.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 18, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-ff3m1j79>.
- APA: Musica Popular Mexicana; 4. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-ff3m1j79