ManoVuelta Films

[ Son Altepee ]

We are so happy to announce a brand new tour and documentary for this Fall 2012 from ManoVuelta Films and Son Altepee! This fall 5 traditional string musicians from Acayucan, Veracruz known as the collective “Son Altepee”, will be touring a short documentary film, performances, and discussions.  Most of you have known this genre of music as Son Jarocho, but they will explain why they prefer their music to be simply called string music “musica de cuerdas” or Huapango music.

We will be touring a short documentary talking about their work and music, and how they use it as a tool for community organizing.  We will also be talking about the current political situation in Mexico, including the effects of neoliberalsm on communities in Veracruz, the so-called war on drugs, and the current electoral fraud scandal. Here is a little bit more about how they see themselves and the world around them.

We are a group of youth from different parts of southern Veracruz who see string music as a tool of social consciousness in a shared environment: the huapango, a traditional celebration of our indigenous communities.  We promote community based organization and participation.  We believe it is possible to achieve a common good through community values, as opposed to the social structures imposed by the high circles of power.  The mass media and official educational structures show us that individualism, corruption, violence, and oblivion are the foundations of modern day life.  Through our contact with elder musicians from our region we have learned that there are many different ways to live this life, which can be based on a sense of community, memory, collective work, respect and equality. These are the foundations we have to build a society based upon the collective inheritance of our peoples.

Documentary Film Blurb

Ayer, Hoy y Mañana
Música Tradicional de Cuerdas
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Traditional String Music

Son Altepee make their own instruments, repair instruments, teach string music, contribute  to traditional community celebrations, build community with elders and youth in several communities throughout southern Veracruz, and they support several struggles for liberation and self determination in Veracruz and throughout Mexico.  Their work sets the bar a lot higher for anybody that is trying to build anything, from the bottom up..


Previously Toured Films (Still Available to screen)


“Cuando Una Mujer Avanza”

A documentary film about “Mare” a female hip hop artist from Oaxaca, Mexico. Mare is medicine for the devaluating experiences of many young women of color today. As a young native Zapotec female MC born in Oaxaca City, her unique life experience is a rarely heard perspective on life and community liberation. As an up and coming MC in a state know for popular and indigenous rebellion, Mare’s life and experience has been channeled into very power full and conscious rapping and singing.


“El Jardin Kojima” (Kojima Graden)

(20 minutes) 2011 Set in Otatitlan, Veracruz, Mexico “El Jardin Kojima” (Kojima Garden) gives us a look at how traditional Son Jarocho music is used as a tool for community organizing and conscience building. Son Jarocho music is primarily found and rooted in afro-indigenous communities in the state of Veracruz. Today, this community-based art form is played and enjoyed all over the world. At its core, Son Jarocho music strengthens pride in community identity and also inspires different kinds of organizing. “El Jardin Kojima” is just one example of how Son Jarocho music and traditions are keeping communities strong in a time of limited opportunities.


The Demarest Factor: US Military Mapping of Indigenous Communities in Oaxaca, Mexico

(55 minutes) 2010 This film is part of an ongoing investigation which has exposed US military mapping of communally owned indigenous land in the Southern Sierra in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. The mapping took place under the auspices of the department of geography from Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas in collaboration with the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) at Fort Leavenworth, in Leavenworth, Kansas. The FMSO senior analyst Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey B. Demarest declares in several essays and texts that communal ownership of property, leads to crime and insurgency. The film irrefutably exposes an ongoing military strategy to criminalize indigenous land tenure and identity in order to secure political and economic interests in the region.


Xip Xop oaXaca

(50 minutes) 2009 This film documents stories of resistance from several youths in Oaxaca, Mexico. The film explores different elements of conscious and revolutionary hip hop culture, which has been greatly influenced by the 2006 Oaxacan People’s Popular Assembly – APPO uprising. Xip Xop oaXaca includes several music videos and a taste of urban resistance as seen by youth from hoods around the city of Oaxaca.


“La Familia “Raíces”

(35 minutes) 2009 This film takes us deep into the lives of the traditional Son Jarocho family band “Los Raíces”. Son Jarcho is a traditional Afro Indigenous music with is primarily found in the state of Veracruz. However in the film a Mother, Father, son, two daughters, and two family friends all from the neighboring state of Oaxaca take on the musical genre as their own and transform it into their loudspeaker for social protest. The entire Raíces family actively participated in the 2006 Oaxacan People’s Popular Assembly – APPO social uprising in Oaxaca, they are known for the song ” El Son de la Baricada” (The Son of the Barricade). Today they continue to play their protest music against state sponsored repression. A truly inspirational film, which demonstrates an entire family’s sacrifice for their people.


If you are interested in hosting an event at your University or community center, please contact us.