Preserving Mexico’s Ancient Music
One of the greatest joys of traveling the world for Marina and I is discovering ancient cultures we never have even heard of. While we hope to discover all these great cultures all over the world, we realize this is a somewhat impossible task, and thats when we turn to our friends! Marina and I were very lucky to go to film school with some amazing filmmaking friends and are always excited to see the great projects they are working on all over the world.
Recently, our good friend Cole embarked on a very ambitious project “Sanctuary of Butterflies“, but one well worth the time and energy, to preserve and protect the ancient music of Mexico with Luis Perez, one of the last musicians truly working to preserve this ancient art form. We recently spoke to Cole and Luis to learn more about their project and the amazing history of the music they are dedicated to preserve.
What’s the film about?
Sanctuary of Butterflies is about the need for preservation of cultural traditions throughout Mexico and the impact of such traditions in contemporary urban societies. Music and dance are important forms of expression rooted in thousands of years of traditions, but they are now threatened due to the voracity of modern societies represented by corporate greed and corruption in a globalized world out of balance. Luis Perez-Ixoneztli takes us on a journey across Mexico to experience and learn from a wide variety of unique cultures while they still exist.
Check out the trailer to their amazing project!
Help these guys meet their Kickstarter goal so they can make this amazing film – because we really want to watch it!
Who is Luis Perez-Ixoneztli?
Luis Perez-Ixoneztli has contributed to the world of Mexican music by incorporating native musical instruments into a contemporary musical language, while paving a unique path for new generations of musicians. He believes that the most important part of his musical contribution is bringing back attention to the sheer wealth of native Mexican musical instruments. His first work, En el Ombligo de la Luna, perhaps the ultimate fusion involving Pre-Columbian instruments and electronics, has recently been recognized after 33 years as a pioneering musical work and has been inducted into the National Archives of Mexican Music. In addition, the National Institute of Anthropology and History will be publishing his book next year on the methods involved in constructing instruments native to Mexico, specifically Pre-Columbian clay percussion and winds.
Luis’ vast array of archaeological artifacts, some dating over 3000 years old, and ethnographic instruments, still in use by numerous diverse ethnic communities, have been displayed in various museums in both Mexico and the United States.
In his youth, Luis went on a series of trips very similar to the one we have planned. Over the course of those trips, he traded songs, learned dances, collected ethnographic as well as ancient Pre-Columbian instruments, and was inspired by the cultures he encountered to the point of changing his life’s musical direction.
Luis’ collection of native Mexican instruments includes archaeological artifacts representative of the different cultural regions in the area known as Mesoamerica. Some of the instruments date back more than 3000 years and are preserved in excellent condition. Found in archaeological excavations, these instruments were once used in the ancient past by ministers of music as vehicles of communication between the material and the spiritual realms. They were buried to prevent their destruction from invaders and have remained silent for thousands of years until it was time for them to rise and, through the breath of a musician, speak again. Luis regularly uses these instruments in his recordings and lectures.
Photos copyright Oscar Colorado Nates and Cole Smothers.