The Sketches of Mexico Project

The Sketches of Mexico Project is an exciting new collaboration curated by the award winning Mexican guitarist Morgan Szymanski and Sarabande Records involving music, visual arts and educational workshops in venues including concert halls, art galleries and schools.

1. The Music: A magical journey through Mexicos sounds, colours, dances and styles.

20 Mexican Sketches: Julio César Oliva (Mexico, b.1947)

Oliva’s 20 Mexican Sketches were never intended as concert works, but rather as a stylistic and didactic collection for young guitarists to become acquainted with traditional Mexican rhythms and musical forms. However, this simplicity still manages to conjure wonderful images, ambiences, sounds and colours. Mexico’s distinct and varied geography is portrayed in a mixture of pre-hispanic, popular and modern sound worlds, taking the listener on a musical journey through famous and wonderful locations such as Acapulco, Oaxaca, Yucatán, Chiapas, Veracruz. Imagery is present in the music in homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the two famous volcanoes – Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl – the pyramids of Teotihuacan and the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, now embraced by the sprawling capital, Mexico City.

Oliva’s works are complemented by six songs by Manuel María Ponce (1882-1949), Mexico’s foremost composer and father of Mexican nationalism. Throughout his life he collected melodies and themes which are present in his compositions. The selection of popular pieces and songs reflect Ponce’s unending devotion to the guitar and his close relationship with Andres Segovia.

2. Visual Arts: Sketches, design and multimedia.

Artists and designers from Mexico and the United Kingdom have been invited to take part in this unique collaboration. Each artist will provide their own interpretation inspired by the music in the form of sketches, paintings and designs. These images will be used in the following ways, depending on location and venue.

  • a) As part of an exhibition
  • b) In a unique video installation to be projected throughout the performance.
  • c) In post-cards to be sold at concerts.
  • d) On the Sarabande Records website and/or Facebook page.

3. Education:

The education and outreach part of the project is an essential part in order to promote Mexican culture, music and art in schools. Workshops will include a didactic performance of the music, as part of a presentation of the art works. Students will then be invited to create their own sketches.

The project will be presented to promoters and venues in Mexico and the UK for inclusion in programmes during 2012. The launch of the project in Mexico will be in Mexico City’s CENART on the 25th of August 2012.


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