La Granja |
Music and myth in Central Mexico
In March of 2013, FSN's Chris Marianetti and Jeremy Thal travelled to Amanalco, a small town several hours west of Mexico City. There we worked with a group of third graders, known affectionately as los chamacos, to create pieces of music based on stories about magical animals. The project was part of an ongoing series of workshops for local elementary school children run by the La Granja Centro de Arte.
FSN's work in Amanalco centered around a legendary, but very real, local creature called the axolotl, a particular species of salamander native only to this region of Central Mexico. We encouraged the chamacos to ask their parents and grandparents about this creature, and other magical animals in the local mythology. What emerged was a delightful set of fables and original stories about golden pigs, talking dogs, ominous birds, adventurous frogs, and a lonely axolotl.
Celebrated mythologist Joseph Campbell said that, "myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of life." He believed that myths give us perspective on what's happening in our lives by putting us in touch with a plane of reference that goes past our mind and into our very being. Exploring the stories of this small town through the eyes of these third graders really captured our imagination. After collecting sounds and stories, we spent our final week working out of a makeshift mobile studio in La Granja, remixing these sounds and our own original music into musical soundscapes that accompany the chamaco's voices.