This blog will delve into the cultural and entertainment aspects of folklorico music and dance of Mexico. It also will host the show notes to the podcast titled "Arriba! Folkorico music and dance of Mexico."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Participation in PodCamp San Antonio 2007

The podcast was represented at this "unconference."

Well, we did represent the Podcast series of Arriba! Folklorico music and dance of Mexico at the first annual Podcamp San Antonio 2007 event last weekend, on 19 May 2007.
Although we could not stay for the entire day (because we were interviewing an individual who would give us a testimonial for another podcast), it was a rather enjoyable event and full of very inquisitive people
The event itself was very well organized -- both from a technical support and from an infrastructure perspective. Not only were the presentations delivered in a live streaming environment (my understanding is that one of the sponsors, Podcast Ready) was helping to provide this for this "unconference."
We also had the opportunity to listen to, and speak with, Gary Leland of the Podcast Pickle. In fact, there was even an appearance of the Pickle mascot itself.

Presentations and photos

During the conference, I (Federico) personally had an opportunity to share with those who attended the session by delivering two presentations:
(1) Experiences in Podcasting -- podcasting for "passion," Corporate podcasting & Podcasting for profit; and
(2) How to avoid burnout and prevent podfading.

At first, I thought that the audience was falling asleep when I was speaking the second time (right after lunch). However, there were a number of people who came up to me afterwards and gave me feedback and comments about how much they enjoyed the discussion and its relevance to them in their podcasts.
I figured that their silence during the presentation was due to reflecting upon the relevance of the topic in their own lives -- that they were recognizing the stages and signals of feeling overwhelmed, losing passion for their topic, seeing events in their lives now step in and conflict with the time they spent in their podcasts, losing control of their day and possibly overcommitting the financial investment in podcasting.

We did our best to share with others our experiences (especially to those who were interested in getting into podcasting). We tried to share information such as resources, where to go for help, references to those who have pioneered the way in podcast activities earlier.

We did have an opportunity to meet with a couple of other podcasters who were members of the Podcast Secrets 2007 course. We know that we will see them in Ontario at the Podcast and New Media Expo from September 28-30.

The organizers of the PodCamp had organized photographers to capture images of the event. Perhaps we shall be visible in the photos captured during the sessions--they will be at the PodCamp San Antonio 2007 website. Also, we shall see what type of feedback is given by the worldwide podcasters who did view the live streaming delivery of the event (we heard during the session that several European visitors were participating with us during the event).

The value of an "unconference" and some suggestions

All in all, this type of "unconference" does have its value in providing help to others and networking with other podcasters in the region. The only feedback we would give to organizers in other regions who want to implement a Podcamp unconference is to allocate more time to those "sharing" or presenting. Suggestion: 20 minutes for a presentation (to deliver the information on the topic and stir up the discussion), followed by an additional 20 minutes for Questions-and-Answers or feedback/discussion. As it was, 15 minutes to deliver a message or share a topic (which was originally planned for 30 minutes) only created the environment of a more structured conference (i.e., a one-to-many presentation) instead of an interactive discussion.

Although our participation was not as much as we would have liked, due to the prior commitments at the end of the day, as well as the distance from Austin, the intent is to return next year on May 17, 2008, and participate more in the second annual PodCamp San Antonio 2008.

Monday, May 14, 2007

PodCamp in San Antonio on May 19, 2007

(note: this post was originally published prior to the conference)
On May 19, 2007, there will be an "unconference" held in the city of San Antonio, Texas. This podcast will be represented and presented there, as an example of "podcasting-for-passion."
I will be presenting 2 sessions:
(1) Title of session is "Experiences in Podcasting: podcasting-for-passion and corporate podcasting, as well as podcasting-for-profit"; and
(2) Title of the afternoon session is: "How to prevent burnout and podfading."

Since I had planned on attending this first PodCamp in the area and wanted to contribute to the community, I was asked to record a promo podcast in Spanish to promote awareness of the event for the San Antonio and surrounding communities.

Thus, I did record a promo podcast in conjunction with the organizers of PodCamp San Antonio

You can listen to the brief promo podcast by going to the to the web site, above, and review the details of the conference at this web site. The promo podcast is located there.

I will post another entry to this blog to let you know how things went at the event and describe the community at this first annual "unconference" called PodCamp San Antonio 2007. In the meantime, I will be promoting this podcast, as well as other cultural and educational podcasts, at the event.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Episode 003- Veracruz and the Jarocho music and dance - and La Bamba

In this episode, we explore the Eastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in the lively culture of the Jarocho people in Veracruz and those around the River Papaloapan. Besides el Tilingo Lingo. la Bruja and El Aguanieve (El Zapateado), the focus is on the wedding dance, el son de La Bamba. In addition, the costumes are vividly described, along with the romantic Mexican custom of the serenata (the serenade), but this time, Mananitas con jarana.

Notice that the gentleman Jarocho dancer and his lady companion would sometimes compete to the vibrant, rhythmic steps of the very fast heel-and-toe movements and steps called zapateados and taconeados (as is depicted in the photo of the dance, el son del tilingo lingo).

On other occasions, the women would imitate the movements with their skirts of such animals such as palomas (doves) and mariposas (butterflies). One such dance is El Palomo y la Paloma, where the man's chivalry shines through. In some folklorico groups, the gentlemen bring in chairs to the stage so that the ladies may be seated. During the dance, the men tip their hats, remove them and bow, while genuflecting in front of their damsel, to show the high respect that Mexican men had for the women that they were courting.

On other occasions, the loveliness of the mestiza came through in a sensual dance called La Bruja (the witch). The serious look of the women pervade the evening as they dance with lit candles on their heads. As these women solo in their purely feminine dance, the theme of woman being the enchantress is dominant in this tropical region.

The music is lively, with songs famous as the Canto a Veracruz, El Balaju and El Siquirisi, as well as El Cascabel. The musicians play with the Veracruz harp, which is smaller and much more vibrant than the classical harp. A very similar harp is played in neighboring Venezuela, whose coastal peoples have a lively culture very similar to that of the jarochos. In addition to the melody lead of the harp, the jarana and requinto add accompaniment and rhythm, as well as the Spanish guitarra.

The competition for groups and families is seen in El Aguanieve (also known today as El Zapateado), where improvisations and contests reign on the tarima (the wooden platform), and the finale ends with the entire ensemble participating together in the last verses.

The couples perform their dynamic steps in their white costumes, reflecting the heat of this subtropical climate.
The jarocho region of Veracruz is considered to be one of the liveliest and happiest areas of Mexican folklorico dance. For some people, it is incredible to imagine that these songs, like the wedding song of La Bamba, were being danced in the 18th century (during the time of the American War for Independence, also known as the Revolutionary War).

Today, La Bamba is still the favorite of wedding couples, as they tie the knot (literally) by dancing steps while tying a bow with their feet, signifying their union and unity in marriage. It is the audio of La Bamba that is featured in this podcast episode 003.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

mp3 file of the Interview with Jose Hernandez-episode 002- click here

Please note: from the prior post, you will notice that this episode with the interview actually is posted on another blog, since I had trouble getting access into this version of The web link takes you to an embedded player, where you have the click-to-play option.
However, if you wish to download the mp3 file for this episode to your ipod, please click on the link highlighted, above in the title of the post.

Episode 2 - Fred Castaneda conducts Interview with Jose Hernandez-Director of Mariachi Sol de Mexico

In this episode, Federico Castaneda interviews Jose Hernandez, the director-creator of El Mariachi Sol de Mexico (R), and the discussion includes not only folklorico dancing and the accompaniment of mariachis with the performers, but also touches upon the topics of the musical genres of Mexican music, artists and directions & trends.
Impressive is the vast scope that Jose Hernandez includes in his love of Mexican music -- composer-arranger-author-singer-musician-performer-humanitarian-educator -- and his contribution not only to the style and implementation in the last 25 years, but also in his quest to keep the spirit of folklorico music and mariachi music and Mexican music alive forever in our hearts.
A special treat includes the performance of 2 musical pieces: (1) the inclusion of a few seconds of his mariachi playing their "sol de Mexico" introduction at the beginning; and (2) the inclusion of the complete piece of the song called "El Rey de la Huasteca"--which is described and discussed during the interview.
For more information about the songs, about purchasing the music, about the restaurant Cielito Lindo, or about the Mariachi Sol de Mexico or Jose Hernandez, please visit the web site of: