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About - Social Movements and Native Traditions - the Ricardo Montejano Collection (Mexico)


This sound archive created by Ricardo Montejano comprises recordings of testimonial, historic, cultural, and artistic value, compiled throughout Mexico. They allow users to hear the voices of marginalized peoples, who have been fundamental actors in the cultural and political reality of the country: social activists, peasants, indigenous people, musicians, traditional medics, and guardians of tradition. It includes field and studio recordings carried out from the 1970’s to the present.

The materials were mainly gathered for radio show production, but they now also comprehend original recordings and edited testimonies. The complete original recordings, mostly unpublished, include sacred indigenous ceremonies, testimonials of now late individuals, political acts, music festivals, and more.

The Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (National Endowment for the Arts–FONCA) and Fonoteca Nacional (National Sound Library) focus on preserving 3,300 recordings which contain the sound registry of social processes that shook the country and became turning points in Mexican history. These are mostly unknown and scarcely studied aspects of the life and culture of marginalized sectors of Mexican population, which provide relevant elements to understand the complex current reality.

Ricardo Montejano

Montejano’s testimony approach to recording a multitude of primary sources allowed for the preservation of individuals’ emotions, aspirations, struggles, and their personal role within indigenous, peasant, and labor communities. This provides a rich assortment of materials for users interested in social/cultural studies, anthropology, cultural/ritualistic heritage in Mexico, ethnomusicology, and recent Mexican history.

In addition to being of great scholarly value, the materials are also historically sacred to local Mexican communities as they document voices that are often overlooked by official records and media depictions of Mexican life. FONCA’s work to digitize these voices encompasses rarely-studied aspects of the life and culture of marginalized Mexican sectors, providing crucial elements in understanding current complexities