Veracruz Chronicles

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cumbre Tajin

We'd heard about it before we came but didn't realize what a big deal it really was: Cumbre Tajin. CT is a week long music festival held outside Papantla in a fair ground near the ruins of Tajin. The festival opens in the morning with craft and cultural workshops throughout the day. The kids participated in workshops ranging from traditional weaving of palm fronds to making toys out of recycled trash (a hobby horse). There were workshops in dance, from salsa, tango to African stomps. In the Totonac section of the park there were demonstrations throughout the day of dance, ceremony, cooking and of course the Voladores flew. On the first day of the festival, they held a tree cutting ceremony and set up the Voladore pole.

A troupe of clowns from Mexico City's Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Center) were a big hit with everyone attending. They were somewhat medieval, with large rumps (or chests) and grotesque paper mache noses. They traveled around the fairgrounds several times a day, stopping to perform acrobatics (with PVC pipe and yoga balls), oogle at pretty women or soak the audience with water filled insecticide pumps. They always had a loyal following and their performance was fun and smart.



Payaso, watch the water

Mark volunteered at the festival and was assigned to a group of monks. They are from Nepal, living in India in exile, traveling the world to raise awareness of their struggle. (They are in exile due to lack of religious freedom in Nepal after the takeover of Chinese.) They spoke very little English, no Spanish, so Mark's job was to translate for groups and explain the significance of their project, that of making a mandala. They worked for five days constructing the mandala, which is a picture made out of different colored sand. The work is meditative and a metaphor for the detachment they should have to the material world. At the end of the construction, they have a ceremony and then sweep all the sand into a pile. The sand was put into bags and given out as reminders of the mandala. Mark enjoyed his time with them and the whole family got to know the men. It made an impression on all of us.


The highlight of the weekend was the final night when one of Mark's favorite singers performed AND he got to have an interview with her afterwards. For those of you that did not know, Mark is writing a book about a Mexican music genre called Trova and this singer figures into several of his chapters. Don't know if I'll be able to get Mark home this summer, he is having too much fun.
Eugenia Leon

We just looked at the calendar and realized we have but three months before our return. It has gone by too fast. Willa wants to know if she can bring all her friends home with her. My work is good, I am lucky to be working with such kind and interesting people. Anyone want to visit Cumbre Tajin with us next year???


At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Grandma Griffin said...

We're glad you all had a great time at Cumbre Tajin, and that you got to hear and interview one of the singers for your book, Mark!
How on earth did you translate if the monks spoke no language you knew? Did they have something printed for you to work from?

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Frank y Yami said...

Hola a todos,

Hemos disfrutado mucho leyendo sus comentarios y viendo todas las fotos.

Siempre que vamos a Norman pensamos en ustedes. Nos encanta saber que todos lo han pasado muy bien.

CariƱos, Frank y Yamileth

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank y Yami,
No tenemos sus domicilio, email nosotros, por favor!

Esperamos que todo esta bien.



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