Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Delightful Weekend

A resident of Mexico is often presented with delightful surprises of a musical nature. True, the sonic environment in Mexico, studded as it is with the cheerful baying of dogs tied up on the roofs and the frequent release of resounding fireworks at unpredictable intervals, does not want for variety. But it is only occasionally--once a year in my immediate neighborhood--where they truly go all out to entertain everyone within earshot. Earshot, in this case being, anyone within several blocks.

I have the particular advantage of being front-row center for this celebration as it takes place in the forecourt of the church immediately across the street, so the fidelity for me is particularly high. All this weekend, starting with some rehearsals and sound checks on Friday afternoon, I have enjoyed a panoply of soundscapes.

There are, of course, the Indian drummers and dancers with their charming recourse to a tightly limited set of patterns. But there are also more conventional bands playing what I imagine must be popular music. Popular where, I am not quite sure, but if popularity can be guaranteed by sheer volume, especially of the bass which has been rattling my dishes this past hour, then this group must be wildly popular. Have I mentioned the brass ensemble? No? Ah yes, they alternate between the other groups and bring a certain je ne sais quoi to the proceedings. The higher trumpets feature a wide and unstable vibrato that is nicely contrasted with the solidity of the oom pah pah of the tubas. And, of course, they have their own snare drum corps accompanying them.

Sometimes, out of sheer enthusiasm, I am sure, the different groups overlap in a kind of gentle competition. But the prevailing mood is one of sheer frenetic intensity alternating with more frenetic intensity at a slightly different tempo.

I rejoice in the subtle developmental techniques such as the accelerando that the drummers are currently displaying. Come to think of it, they used that very same technique earlier today. And yesterday.

I don't believe I mentioned the lowing of the plastic tube horns? Well, they don't occupy a lot of the entertainment, so perhaps it is just as well.

Ah, I can hear from the glissandi of the heavily-amplified electric bass that the pop group is about to replace the drummers who, frankly, were beginning to run out of idea.

I had planned to listen to at least two more of the Bruckner symphonies this weekend, but really, how could I ignore the musical treasure trove that is unfolding right in front of me? That would be rude. So Bruckner will just have to wait.

As I understand it the musical performances will begin to taper off around eleven pm tonight making for a very full weekend of ... well, I hardly know what to call it.

Here is a little sample for you, but of course it is far more formal and restrained than the performances I have had the pleasure of experiencing over the last couple of days. With scarcely a break...

Oh joy, I think that now the Indian drummers are colloborating with the brass band AND the pop group. I'm sure that any minute now they will settle on a tempo and perhaps even a key.

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