Entre Mujeres is an innovative percussion-based translocal music composition project between Chicanas/Latinas in the U.S. and Jarochas/Mexican female musicians in Mexico who struggle for social justice for mothers and families in states of social and economic precarity. Jarochas practice music rooted in the son jarocho tradition developed in Veracruz, Mexico. Facilitated by Martha Gonzalez, Grammy-winning artist, fandango practitioner and feminist scholar, Entre Mujeres takes the form of CDs, live performances, video documentaries, print-publications and intentional collective song-writing.
Gonzalez emphasizes that the “important aspect of collective songwriting is not the song itself but rather its ability to ‘engender solidarity.’” Gonzalez explains, “A song as a sonic and literary manifestation is life’s sound-scape, a unique cathartic memento, as well as a powerful political tool. Without question a song is also an important historical text. A person’s testimonio (testimony), life views, triumphs, and struggles can be expressed into song lyrics. In the end a song, like a testimonio is what stands as moment lived. Multiplied by community this can be an active exercise in consensus and knowledge production.
As a collaborator in various songwriting moments I have witnessed time and again how this method and process creates space, builds community, challenges multiple patriarchal systems, and can potentially produce knowledge that is accessible. Throughout this project there has been convivencia, trust, testimonios that have generated important moments of healing, and knowledge production. In these ways Entre Mujeres Project is a testament to the kind of collective knowledge generated across U.S.” Mexican borders” (Gonzalez, “Entre Mujeres”).
While in Veracruz, Mexico, Gonzalez found that musicians she planned to collaborate with shouldered significant duties (taking care of children, working outside the home, cooking and other household work) that prevented them from recording in studio. Realizing that if she was going to record with these musicians, she’d have to create a make-shift home recording studio in her kitchen with low-cost, high quality digital recording tools. Mixing in the kitchen allowed musician mothers to bring children, to cook, write, and record around the kitchen table. The kitchen became a place to mix sound recordings as well as a place to prepare food and forge social and artistic relationships. This project is an alternative model of music production that counters processes of alienation endured by mothers and children within commercial music industry.
Photo Credits: Entre Mujeres and Kristina Clark
Martha Gonzalez, “Mixing in the Kitchen: Entre Mujeres Feminine Translocal Composition,” Performing Motherhood: Artistic, Activist and Everyday Enactments (2014)
Martha Gonzalez, “Sonic (Trans)Migration of Son Jarocho Zapateado: Rhythmic Intention, Metamorphosis and Manifestation in Fandango and Performance”, Ethnic Identity Politics, Transnationalization, and Transculturation in American Urban Popular Music: Inter-American Perspectives. Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier Press (2011)