Redes and Revolution:
Music, Film, and History
in Mexico and Veracruz, 1910-1940

April 11, 2014
McNeir Auditorium, Georgetown University, 1:15-6:00 pm

3700 O St. NW
Washington DC 20057
(campus map)

This event is free and open to the public.

Mexico lived a complex era of revolution and reconstruction from 1910 to 1940: mostly conflict from 1910 to 1920, a mix of conflict and reconstruction from 1920 to 1930, mostly reconstruction from 1930 to 1940. Mexicans struggled to build a more just and prosperous nation—while for many scholars, writers, and artists Mexico became beacon of promise in a troubled world.

In 1934, the Mexican government—which called itself a Revolution—sponsored the making of the film Redes. Fred Zinneman, an immigrant from Germany, joined in the production, Paul Strand came from the US to film, and Silvestre Reveultas, a Mexican composer of rising renown, wrote the score. The film was made on location using a local cast at the fishing port of Alvarado on the Gulf coast of Veracruz.

With a striking mix of scene and music, Redes explores the challenges of post-revolutionary times—with a tone of optimism. The film has been re-mastered by Martin Scorcese’s New Cinema Foundation; the sound track will soon be re-recorded by the Post-Classical Ensemble. Our conference is part of a series of events leading to the debut presentation of the re-mastered film with a live performance of Revueltas’s score by the Post-Classical Ensemble at the University of Maryland Clarice Davis Center for the Performing Arts on May 10, 2014.

Our symposium begins with a performance of Son Jarocho, the famed folk music of the Alvarado region. Then scholars will explore the contradictions of revolution in Mexico and Veracruz, the early film industry in Mexico, and Paul Strand’s roles in Mexico and Redes. We conclude with selections from Revueltas’ score performed by the GU orchestra, accompanied by excerpts from the film.

1:15 pm: Son Jarocho—Traditional Folk Music of Coastal Veracruz:
Trío Jarocho Guachintón
Alexandro D. Hernández, guitarra de son and vocals
Keli Rosa Kabunoc, jarana, zapateado, and vocals
Daniel Herrera, leona, violion, and vocals

2:15 pm: Rethinking Revolution in Mexico and Veracruz      
Chair: John Tutino, Professor, History and SFS, Georgetown
“Revolutionary Conflicts, Contradictory Outcomes, 1910-1920”  –  Rodolfo Fernández, Ph.D., History, Georgetown, 2014
“Can a Regime Be a Revolution? Mexico, 1920-1940,”  –  John Tutino
“Rethinking Post-Revolutionary Veracruz: Society and Politics, 1920-1940.”  –  Heather Fowler-Salamini, Professor of History, Emerita, Bradley U.

3:45 pm: Film and Filmmaking in Post-Revolutionary Mexico
Chair: Bernard Cook, Associate Dean, Director of Film and Media Studies, Georgetown
“Dolores del Río and the Golden Age of Mexican Film,”  –  Bárbara Mujica, Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown
“Paul Strand, Redes, and Mexico in the 1930s,”  –  James Krippner, Professor, History, Haverford College

5:15 pm: Redes and Revueltas: Selections –
Georgetown University Orchestra, conducted by Angel Gil-Ordonez
A selected ensemble of the GU Orchestra will play selections from Silvestre Revueltas’ score while showing excerpts from the recently re-mastered 1934 film.

Sponsored by the Americas Initiative, the Department of Performing Arts, the Institute for Global History, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and the Film and Media Studies Program—all of the Georgetown University College of Arts and Sciences.

This event is part of the Mexico Festival produced cooperatively by the Post-Classical Ensemble, Georgetown University, the Mexican Cultural Institute, and the University of Maryland

Son Jarocho comes from the sotavento, a region of Mexico’s southern Gulf coast that includes parts of the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Tabasco. Redes was filmed at Alvarado, Veracruz, a fishing community in the heart of the sotavento. Since the mid-1940s, Son Jarocho has set roots in the United States. The Trío Jarocho Guantinchón will perform in the fandanguero style that has become a staple among jarocho performers and community participants at fandangos (community musical gatherings), social justice protests, and performance spaces.

Participants:

Bernard Cook in Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgetown and Director of the Program in Film and Media Studies. He is editor of Thelma and Louise Live: The Cultural Afterlife of an American Film (2007).

Rodolfo Fernández completed his Ph.D. in History at Georgetown in January 2014 with a dissertation on “Revolution and the Industrial City: Violence and Capitalism in Monterrey, Mexico, 1890-1920.” He is teaching at Brandeis University.

Heather Fowler-Salamini is Profesor Emerita of History at Bradley University. She is author of Agrarian Radicalism in Veracruz, 1920-1938 (1978) and Working Women, Entrepreneurs, and the Mexican Revolution: The Coffee Culture of Córdoba, Veracruz (2013) and coeditor with Mary Kay Vaughan of Women of the Mexican Countryside, 1850-1990: Creating Spaces, Shaping Transition (1994).

Angel Gil-Ordóñez is Music Director of the Post-Classical Ensemble and Music Director of the Georgetown University Orchestra. The former Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Spain, he has conducted symphonic music, opera, and ballet throughout Europe, the United States, and Latin America. He has recorded numerous CDs and DVDs, and gained honors from the king of Spain for promoting Spanish musical culture and a WAMMIE as best composer in Washington, DC, for 2011.

James Krippner is Professor and Chair of the History Department at Haverford College. He is author of Rereading the Conquest: Power, Politics, and the History of Early Colonial Michoacán, Mexico, 1521-1558 (2001) and Paul Strand in Mexico, 1932-1934 (2011).

Bárbara Mujica is a novelist, short-story writer, essayist and critic—and Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Georgetown. Her novels are Frida (2001), Sister Teresa (2007), and I Am Venus (2013). Among her many scholarly works are Women Writers of Early Modern Spain: Sophia’s Daughters (2004), Teresa de Ávila: Lettered Woman (2007), and A New Anthology of Early Modern Spanish Theater (2014).

John Tutino is Professor of History and International Affairs at Georgetown, and Director of the Americas Initiative. He is author of From Insurrection to Revolution in Mexico: Social Bases of Agrarian Violence, 1750-1940 (1986) and Making a New World: Founding Capitalism in the Bajío and Spanish North America (2011), co-editor with Elisa Servín and Leticia Reina of Cycles of Conflict, Centuries of Change: Crisis, Reform, and Revolution in Mexico (2007), and editor of Mexico and Mexicans in the Making of the United States (2012).

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Special funding for this concert was generously furnished by AHMSA International, Inc., Chevron Corporation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Conaculta, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, MARPAT Foundation, the Embassy of Mexico-Mexican Cultural Institute, Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos, and Emerging America.