“Partituras del Balsas” CD-ROM Release
Celebrations in Chilpancingo and Arcelia, Guerrero
January 18, 6:30 pm
“Sentimientos de la Nación” Auditorium, Chilpancingo
January 20, morning
El Tecolote Cultural Center, Arcelia
For more information: visit anazarina.org
“Partituras del Balsas”
The CD-ROM “Partituras del Balsas” will be proudly presented by the government of the State of Guerrero through its Ministry of Culture. This disc is an edition of 150 music scores from Tierra Caliente of the Balsas River Basin, a cultural region that includes parts of Guerrero, Michoacán and the State of Mexico.
About 100 of these pieces are arranged for three violins, and some also have notation for guitar. The CD-ROM documenting the tunes that have been transmitted orally from generation to generation will be presented at a formal ceremony taking place on January 18th at 6:30 pm at the “Sentimientos de la Nación” Auditorium in Chilpancingo. From that day on, the disc will be available to schools and individuals interested in studying this genre.
Why a CD-ROM instead of a printed notebook?
Because these pieces were in most cases learned by ear and not from written music. The disc contains not only files for readers to print their scores, but also electronic documents so that those who prefer it can learn by ear. This is a measure of respect for an important way in which this music has been preserved.
The production of this CD-ROM “was urgent for the number of years and efforts it has combined,” said the Secretary of Culture of the State of Guerrero Mauricio Leyva, who authorized its production and the delivery ceremony, which coincides with the eleventh anniversary of the death of maestro Juan Reynoso Portillo, a violinist from the region who received the National Prize for Science and the Arts in 1997.
Paul Anastasio, an American violinist who transcribed the sones, gustos, pasodobles, valses and other styles included in the CD-ROM, spent a decade studying music with Juan Reynoso and other musicians from the Balsas River Basin. Drawing from his extensive collection of recordings and transcriptions, he is actively continuing his work in the United States.
The CD-ROM also includes an encyclopedia of traditional adornos, ornaments played between vocal verses in gustos and compiled by violinist Ángel Tavira, another legendary musician from the region who has passed away.
Anastasio, who defines himself as a link that transmits the legacy of past generations to young people, says, “When I heard the music of Tierra Caliente del Balsas, I knew right away that it was an extremely important style, so I spent more than 20 years doing everything in my power to preserve this remarkable sound. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to study for ten years with Juan Reynoso and another dozen traditional violinists. I recorded 3,000 hours of my classes with them in digital audio and video and transcribed over 800 pieces. Now, eleven years after Juan Reynoso died, we see a revival of interest in traditional music in the region and, putting my work at the disposal of today’s players, I feel that I am a link — and not the last link — in a chain that keeps going.”
We proudly present the CD-ROM with a selection of 150 of these transcriptions as a sample of the various musical styles that comprise the traditional music of Tierra Caliente. One hundred of these pieces are arranged for three violins.
As a sign of the growing interest of young people towards the traditional music of Tierra Caliente, Hernán Nava Velázquez, a young man who graduated from the Conservatory of the State of Mexico in 2017, will participate in two musical groups during the ceremony. The 26-year-old director leads the Orquesta Tradicional Calentana, a group of 40 children that rehearses in Arcelia, Guerrero, but includes members of several populations. Hernán also plays violin in Los Nietos de don Juan, a group of four young people from the same city. Although Los Nietos did not have a blood relationship with don Juan, they received his blessing when Nava began to play and formed his group.
Anastasio will also play traditional Calentano music during the presentation. In some pieces Neyo and Hugo Reynoso, two of Juan’s sons, will accompany him, as will guitarist Tina Pilione, an American who studied with the Reynosos and has helped Anastasio with his transcriptions. The same musicians — the Calentana Traditional Orchestra, Los Nietos de don Juan and Anastasio with his accompanists — will also participate in a second celebration of the CD-ROM’s release at the El Tecolote Cultural Center in Arcelia on the morning of January 20th. Attendees at workshops throughout the Cuenca del Balsas will receive copies of the CD-ROM. This celebration coincides with weekly workshops that take place between September and July.