Learning About ‘A Mexican Sound’03 October, 2012
Just when you thought you knew everything about Mexican music, a filmmaker comes along with a new documentary to dispel that notion.
Roy Germano, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based filmmaker behind the award-winning documentary, The Other Side of Immigration, is back with a second film, A Mexican Sound/Un Son Mexicano. The documentary centres on a Mexican style of music called son huasteco.
Son huasteco is a traditional Mexican musical style originating in the 6 state area of Northeastern Mexico called La Huasteca. Dating back to the end of the 19th century, the sound is influenced by Spanish and indigenous cultures. Son huasteco is typically played by a trio huasteco composed of a guitarra quinta huapanguera (a five course, eight stringed guitar-like instrument), a jarana huasteca (a stringed instrument related to the jarana) and a violin. Singers often use the falsetto register.
Like he did when making The Other Side of Immigration, Germano is using the online funding platform, Kickstarter, to assist with the financing of the project. You can read a Q & A with him on their site here. (Germano even recommends son huasteco artists for newbies to start off with.)
I met Germano when he visited Fordham University in 2011 (he often gives talks at colleges and universities in addition to media appearances). So, this time, I had to ask, how did he go from tackling such a controversial topic, immigration and the reasons Mexicans risk so much to leave their country, to such a joyous aspect of life in Mexico?
Germano says he feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore Mexico from so many different angles in his career as a researcher and filmmaker.
“For my second film, I wanted to introduce viewers a side of Mexico that I think is really beautiful and unique,” he says. “I think people who see ‘A Mexican Sound’ will fall in love with son huasteco, the beautiful dance that accompanies it, and the breathtaking region of the country where it’s played.”
Although the film is nearly complete, there isn’t a release date just yet. Germano’s next step is to submit it for inclusion in film festivals and says we should expect it to premier sometime next year.
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