LAS LÁGRIMAS DEL PUEBLO
Composed in 2021 for the Compass Roses Maps by Artists project.
Albuquerque has a complex relationship with water. Since the first people settled in the Rio Grande River valley, they have survived on the resources provided by the river while simultaneously enduring the challenges of drought and often devasting floods. As the city of Albuquerque grew, the potential for devastation posed by flooding grew with it, including the risk of pollutants being picked up by flood water and making their way into the Rio Grande. The Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA), responsible for the development and maintenance of Albuquerque’s flood control system, has developed a unique and fascinating system for preventing risks to life and infrastructure caused by flooding while working to mitigate the risks of pollution from storm water to the Rio Grande. The relationship between people and water in Albuquerque in many ways reflects the stories of settlement in the Rio Grande valley – the beauty, hardship, and resilience, the collective tears of joy and sorrow shed by the area’s peoples, all eventually making their way back to the river that gave birth to the city.
Las lágrimas del pueblo is a map of a portion of Albuquerque’s flood control system and network of arroyos that functions as a musical score for composition or performance. The map presents eight musical sections representing six arroyos that distribute storm water into the North Diversion Channel which, in turn, distributes water into the Rio Grande. The front of the map provides an abstract form of graphic notation that musicians use as a stimulus for composition or improvisation, while the back of the map provides some additional parameters and sonic material for each of the sections. The score can be realized in live performance or fixed media, using any instrumentation, electronics, recorded audio, or other means.
Front of score
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Back of score
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The structure and material for Las lágrimas del pueblo is derived from visual and sonic elements experienced by the artist at locations along each of the arroyos and the Rio Grande as well as from a variety of New Mexican folk songs recorded, transcribed, and catalogued by John Donald Robb and preserved by the Robb Musical trust and UNM’s Center for Southwest Research. It reflects the physical infrastructure and environment of the flood control system as well as local stories and folklore told through song.
Las lágrimas del pueblo is on display at Albuquerque's South Broadway Cultural Center April 22, 2021 through May 24, 2021.