In Quetzacoatl and the Magic Flute of Fire, two artists from Mexico who have moved to California use their art to celebrate their indigenous heritage: Maya and Olmec for the one, Aztec for the other. The artists are, respectively, Ernesto Hernández Olmos and Rubén Guzmán. Guzmán is interviewed by artist Hershell West.
Hernández Olmos works in many media, from murals to ceramics to carving bas reliefs; he is, in addition, a musician and a dancer. His part of the documentary concentrates on the cermanic flutes he makes - including his magic flute of fire (which he plays for us) and a mural he has made depicting certain events according to the Mayan belief. Guzmán, on the other hand, works in cartoneria - the art form that has developed out of paper maché. West skillfully leads him to explain to us his inspiration from dreams and tales of his indigenous ancestors. In the art of both, Quetzacoatl, the "feathered serpent," looms large.OR purchase on DVD with PayPal:
Masters of Rhythm with addendum has screened in eight countries on four continents, and won awards in the USA and in Germany. A natural outgrowth of my earlier documentary about Afro-Peruvians, it not only gives us lively music (including two original compositions) but shows off the fancy dance form, Afro-Peruvian zapateo (something done in friendly completition where each dancer tries to out-perform the other using fancy footwork).
Whether you purchase the physical DVD, or download or rent it on-line, in addition to the 30 minute documentary you get several interesting Extras. In one, Juan de Dios Soto cooks a special Afro-Peruvian dish called carapulcra. In another, Lalo Izquierdo gives us more of the rhythms from the days of slavery, where Africans used the cajón and other drums to communicate in the Afro-Peruvian form of "talking drums." Even another shows a dance currently performed in many Afro-Peruvian dance competitions but we learn that in fact, it is not Afro-Peruvian, but comes from the Caribbean. And in even another, Izquierdo explains more about how zapateo was performed in the "old days" when it was even more comples and demanding than today.OR purchase on DVD with PayPal:
"...a vivid demonstration...that...Afro-Peruvian music and culture [are] ... exciting and dynamic...." (Wayne Wallace, 3 times Grammy nominated jazz trombonist)
"...satisfying...good educational tool..." (Troy Bedford for Anthropology Review)
This is the first documentary I made about Afro-Peruvians. It focuses on the dance, and on the history of the Afro-Peruvian community. One hour long, it screened in four festivals and was runner-up for the prize of Best Documentary in the San Diego Black Film Festival. It has also been broadcast over individual PBS stations.
A Zest for Life stars Lalo Izquierdo, who is one of the three principals in Masters of Rhythm; in fact, it was Izquierdo's talent, chrisma, and knoweldge of the history and culture of his community, and willingness to participate in another project which led me to make additional trips to Peru to film Masters of Rhythm. In A Zest for Life, Izquierdo is ably complimented by singer-songwriter Jorge Luis Jasso, by bassist Vladimir Vukanovich, by the performing group de Rompe y Raja, and others.OR purchase on DVD with PayPal:
"...a treasure chest of songs....performed by the great torch-bearers of the musical culture...." (Raúl de Gama for World Music Report)
The music album Cajón Is King compliments my two documentaries about Afro-Peruvian music, dance, and culture. With 12 tracks, there is a full one hour of music - but this is not your standard music album.
There are songs by famous percussionists Lalo Izquierdo and Huevito who are also singer-songwriters, songs performed by the group "de Rompe y Raja," a number by singer-songwriter Jorge Luis Jasso, a track in which the guitar of Coco Linares accompanies the percussion made by the feet of Lalo Izquierdo and Huevito as they dance an Afro-Peruvian zapateo, and a solo cajón number in which Lalo Izquierdo plays rhythms from North and South America.
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