Text by Félix Blume about “Los Gritos de México”
Mexico City: more than 20 million people collectively making noise!
A cacophonous city to most; I would like to transform it into a sonorous city.
The street-sellers comprise the voices of the polyphonic choir, the small bell from the ice cream vendor substitutes the triangle from the orchestra, and the hammering of the protesters on the metallic wall becomes the percussion.
In Mexico City, people shout to be heard, they shout their rage against the police, they shout at the ‘lucha libre’ fights, they shout together ¡ Viva Mexico ! to feel united, as well as to protest at demonstrations. They shout too in church, along with prayer, whispering in the silent night.
The thunder booms: nobody can shout at the storm, and the rain cleans the now-quiet city. A solo voice emerges after the storm, and gradually the choir resumes.
People sing to forget and the bellowing returns, louder, so that the others don´t forget.
The water flows under the city, the forgotten lake is mourning; it remembers when the city was an island… Above, it is too noisy, below, the water holds in silence the secrets of the past.
Most of the people in the world live in cities. The daily soundscape is in most cases a continuous din of traffic, close or distant. Mexico City in particular host to a seemingly infinite wave of sounds that lends to its specificity: most prominent are the cries and sounds of the street-sellers, beckoning above the quotidian hum.
In the past, most cities had their own cries (as certain classical music can testify, like ‘Les cris de Paris’ from Janequin). In Mexico City, this tradition has persisted until today, but an unsympathetic government and dissenting public opinion has diminished its presence. Vendors are increasingly dislocated away from the touristic center, antagonistic ad campaigns have banished them from the subway, and police operations block their access to the streets.
I would like to pay tribute to these Criers through a soundscape of Mexico City, one that will become a sonorous memory of a time that sooner than later will disappear.