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Artists Bring Indigenous Opera to One of Mexico's Most Dangerous States

Tania Miranda - Fusion
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December 11, 2014

Nauhatl Opera | Mini Doc (Fusion)

When 43 college students disappeared in the Mexican state of Guerrero last month, the world finally started paying attention to the extortion, kidnappings and clashes with drug traffickers that have long plagued the area.

But the violence hasn’t stopped a group of performers from bringing their work here. Convinced that every community should celebrate culture, a Mexico City opera company brought their production of the country’s first Nahautl opera to Arcelia, a rural town in the mountains of Guerrero, an area with a history of speaking the indigenous language.

“The project we are doing is not for the big theaters,” says José Navarro, the show’s director. “It’s to do something special for the rural people here.”

The opera itself, Xochicuicatl Cuecuechtli, is an adaptation of a text found by a monk in the 16th century, about Aztec sensuality. The songs during the performance incorporate ritual cries accompanied by pre-Hispanic percussion.

Some of the performers have a connection to the area and the language and are motivated by a desire to preserve one of Mexico’s rich, yet fading indigenous cultures.

Read the rest at Fusion

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