john h. mcdowell
|vita | department of folklore & ethnomusicology | comments to john h. mcdowell|
My research interests:
John's brand new corrido book is out--
The Living Ballad of Mexico’s Western Coast
a folklorist steeped in the ethnography of performance and communication,
I have found myself on the edge and sometimes in the middle of many richly
expressive moments. This
quest has carried me to three continents (and an island or two), into
homes, plazas, churches, and cabildos in dozens of villages, towns
and cities. It is my style to
travel light, avoid the authorities as much as possible, and seek out the
good-hearted people of a place, and in this I have been fabulously successful.
It has been my fortune to attract or stumble upon a remarkable
group of magical helpers, people sharing my own deep-seated reverence for
the play of creativity and tradition.
I think of Miguel Arizmendi, Francisco Tandioy, Kwesi Yankah, Raul
Mayo, Luis Alberto Yamberla and Alonso Diaz, and many others who guided my steps and awakened my mind to the
wonders of their native districts. They
brought me to the musicians, dancers, poets, and pranksters, to the wise mayores
and talented juglares, who animate in their voices and actions the
legacies of their regions. At
times I found riddles, or nicknames; at other times ballads, or stories
imbued with mythic consciousness. I
made it my rule to respond, I hope with some agility, to what occupied the
energies of those around me.
With my visually-oriented wife, Patricia Glushko, whose photographs are
featured here, and more recently, our
son Michael assisting with the video work, I have had some success
in documenting the performances of these talented traditional artists,
some of which we share with you on this web site.
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|Last Modified June 21, 2013|