The Archives: May 2009 - March 2011

10.23.2009

Sweet Memories, Loving Songs

Montoyas at the Beach

Three years ago I lost my grandmother, Mama Cuca, and when the holidays start to roll around it seems to hurt even more to think about her. When my family would get together for parties, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas, my dad would have his guitar, and we would all sing. The whole family would sit on the sofas, the floor, pull up chairs and we’d end up in a circle just singing! I love thinking about those nights, I remember thinking my family was like this little group of gypsies and that we could go anywhere and be happy living off of the land and singing songs all day.

That was my dream, to one day grow up and just experience that freedom that we felt singing those songs. Those nights were some of the greatest times I have ever had. As I grew older I realized that most of those songs are not on the radio or on CDs, that those songs are just corridos written in the hearts of the people of Mexico, and the rest of them are songs that you would spend days trying to track down the original artists because its seems that they have been around since the day that God created this land. The more years that pass, the more Americanized that my family became, the greater my fear grew that I would lose all of that precious history.

When Mama Cuca passed on I was terrified that I would never have the chance to be married in front of her, to see her play with any children that my brothers or I may be blessed with, and that they wouldn’t get to know how beautiful our culture was. I am now realizing that she planted enough stories in each of us, and we sang so many songs together that I am part of that culture, that it isn’t just something I sat and watched happen, but that I was living it all of those years. Highlights of me dressed in my Mexican Revolutionary outfit with my braids and bandanna just flew across the inside of my eyelids and I heard my own voice singing “Yo soy rielera y tengo mi Juan, él es mi vida yo soy su querer; cuando me dicen que ya se va el tren, adiós mi rielera ya se va tu Juan.” Soooo… My head is now spinning thinking up fun projects that I can do to try put those stories in writing, record my dad playing his guitar, and much more.

One fun thing I found was this website (arrorrolullabies.com.ar/en/) you can log on and upload a video of you singing a lullaby. This is such a great thing for people of all cultures, I am sure your family has their own special song, or your region, and I don’t want to lose my history, and I am sure you don’t want to lose yours. Check it out, maybe you will find that your lullaby has already been uploaded. Song is such a beautiful thing and it packs such a powerful punch.

Click here to view a photo book I put together of our family: click here

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