Mujeres de Maiz

a women of color artivist collective

La Concha de La Tortuga is a mixture of original music, natural sounds, and bilingual spoken word that brings to life a short story about the migration of Mother Turtle. Award-winning writer Denise Chávez, visual artist and musician Corina Gabaldón, musician Kris J. Wroblewski, musician Nancy Lorenza Green, musician/recording engineer, Ricardo Valencia, photographer, Daniel Zolinsky and graphic artist Ernesto Hernandez collaborated to create this artistic work with funding from the City of El Paso Museum and Cultural Affairs Department.

The CD features the voice of Denise Chávez as La Voz, child Julian Valencia, and the Inutero heartbeat of Kaisa Dulcinea Penny is heard. The CD highlights original music “Walking Through Time” by Green and “Here We Are,” by Gabaldón and Wroblewski. Ancient Wisdom, Gabaldón's original artwork, graces the CD cover and Zolinsky’s photo of women coming down from Tortugas Peak on December 11th, the day of the climb and pilgrimage is on the backside.

The idea for this project began in 2007 when musician Nancy Green was asked to facilitate a workshop on How Music Is Born for staff of the Parents as Teachers Program of the Las Cruces Public Schools in New Mexico under the direction of Corina Gabaldón as part of the Familia=Arte Program. After reading a passage from Diccionario Ritual de Voces Nahuas by Adela Fernandez, workshop participants divided into small groups, wrote an original story about each of four instruments mentioned in the passage (turtle shell, ocarina, conch, and Teponaztle), and created music for their stories. What emerged from the Chávez and Gabaldón collaboration was a genesis myth of the Emergence of Mother Turtle from the Earth.

The City of El Paso Museum of Cultural Affairs Department awarded Green an Arts Development and Enrichment Program (ADEP) grant to create a soundtrack of the story. Chávez, Gabaldón and Green reworked the legend, then invited pianist Kris Wroblewski to join. After a period of revision and rehearsal, the CD was taped at Studio Azul, in El Paso, Texas under the direction of musician Ricardo Valencia. The CDs are available directly from the artists and at the Cultural Center de Mesilla, 2231 Calle de Parian in Mesilla, New Mexico for $15. For more information contact Denise Chávez at 575.523.3988 at or Nancy Green 915.564.9218

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