Culture

What The Hell Was That, Sounds Of Mexico City Edition

Cities are notoriously noisy chaotic places. They’re filled with the soundtrack of people going about their daily lives, pets jockeying for attention, the sounds of commerce and industry…now imagine these sounds in a Mexican city of more than 20 million people.

Welcome to Mexico City.

All cities are noisy. But Mexico City takes it to another decibel. The capital is full of sounds that could be rich, beautiful, and also as annoying AF. After all, it’s the most populous city in North America — and quite likely the loudest.

Here are some of the most Mexican sounds of CDMX:

Some sounds have become iconic, such as the voice blasted from the recycling trucks that slowly circle the city, seeking mattresses, appliances, and other household items too bulky for the garbage truck. The truck drivers used to signal their presence themselves via loudspeakers until one of them thought to record his daughter making the announcement.

The recording spread and is now heard across the country and in some Mexican immigrant neighborhoods in the United States. The young girl’s whiny plea for “colchones, tambores, refrigeradores” was even remixed into an electronic dance song that has become a hit at parties.

Even the way Chilangos (people from CDMX) take out their trash is noisy AF.

Take the high-pitched hand bell that rings incessantly each day, signaling that the garbage truck has arrived in the neighborhood and it’s time to haul out the trash. In many Mexico City neighborhoods, this is the most common daily sound – so common, many use it as their daily alarm clock because the guys are so punctual. They arrive on your street with the clanging of a cowbell and possibly some yelling and it’s your responsibility to get your garbage out to them before they haul off.

And natural gas…now that’s a scream I won’t soon forget.

There is the guttural cry of “gaaaaasssss” from the man who sells canisters of fuel. Most buildings in Mexico City don’t have a pipe connection to a central gas line so we all have gas tanks on our rooftops (super safe, I know!) Thankfully, guys come in their trucks often enough with the downright eerily scream of “gaaaaaaaaass” to sell you refills for your gas tanks.

Or the flute whistle of the knife sharpener, passing with his pushcart.

You’ll hear him before you see him and you’ll need to gritar down at him to get him to stop. But are you sure that’s the knifeman and not a cute sounding bird?

There’s the deafening steam scream of the camote man.

The blood-curdling loud hiss that announces the arrival of the camote man, who sells hot sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with condensed milk, is many people’s favorite sound to hate.

He doesn’t yell words at you. His pushcart literally screams and hisses at you. Loudly. For elongated periods of time. To the point where you flinch and cover your ears if you’re too close because he must have blown both of his at a cumbia concert. His cart is decked out with a wood-burning stove that generates the steam to cook some of the best tasting roasted sweet potatoes and bananas you’ll ever have. And they come covered in la lechera with a side of “omg my poor ears!”

And the borderline creepy organilleros.

Think of a jack-in-the-box. The one old-school kids used to crank and could never quite tell when a frighteningly happy clown on a spring would pop out. Remember that tune? The creepy music that was meant to be cheerful, but was always put into a minor key and inserted into scary movie trailers? The organillero is a real-life version of all of this.

It didn’t always use to be, though. Back in the 1890s, when it first made its appearance in the city, men would play charming melodies, even accompanied by monkeys at times, as people strolled along on a Sunday afternoon, requesting popular tunes (since radio didn’t exist yet) and tipping an extra ten pesos into the hat of the monkey.

Nowadays? Not so much. Doing some research, it appears that the instruments are easily damaged due to rain. And with the abundant amount of rain that this city sees, it’s no wonder that almost everyone you hear is out of tune. Most of the people still cranking them can’t afford to fix them and have no other way to make money. Though annoying, it is pretty sad. The next time you’re in a plaza or a hear one in the street, think of the 75-pound instrument on their back (yeah, these things are heavy) and consider having some sympathy.

Plus, there’s a constant reminder to buy tamales.

Any man who knows me knows that food is a pretty easy way to win me over. (Buy me a wheel of cheese over flowers any day.) So naturally, you’d think the tamale man would have a masa-wrapped key to my heart. Right?

Wrong. I’ve never slept with the tamale man, but he’s woken me up at least three times a week since I’ve lived here. He’s also constantly outside blasting his recording a la Say Anything.

Another automated recording, the tamales Oaxaquenos sellers pedal through Mexico City’s streets starting at dusk and long into the night selling warm Oaxacan tamales wrapped in sweating banana leaves and hot atole from giant Gatorade coolers. Mostly young men, the tamal guys always seem a little lonely to me as they pedal through the streets to this nasal theme song.

And we can’t forget how much Chilangos love honking their car horns.

This is the worst one. A city of more than 20 million people means way too many cars for one place, and with a traffic system worse than any Hot Wheels track I built as a kid, people have no idea what else to do besides honk. All. The. Time. And always for longer than just a few seconds. They also just love mimicking a honk when someone else does it.

Beyond those sounds, Mexico City is also characterized by the constant hum of music — the cumbias that thump from taxis, the street performers strumming acoustic covers of 1970s rock and the mariachis roaming the streets, looking for the next table of sentimental drunks to serenade. It can cause conflict — after all, not every person wants to hear the reggaeton hit “Despacito” played on repeat at the store beneath their apartment.

Chilangos are sometimes said to sing their Spanish.

Unlike in the Caribbean, where Spanish is spoken in rapid fire and the ends of phrases are sometimes skipped altogether, words here are lovingly drawn out, the vowels accentuated, each sentence teeming with life.

The city sings too. Unless you’re in a rotten mood, in which case it sometimes seems to scream.

A Feminist Flash Mob In Chile Went Viral And Has Sparked A Worldwide Movement Against Violence Towards Women

Things That Matter

A Feminist Flash Mob In Chile Went Viral And Has Sparked A Worldwide Movement Against Violence Towards Women

Beto Rosales / El Voz

“El violador eres tú” has become a powerful cry of protest for women around the world. Last week, what started as a heartfelt and chilling, but isolated, performance during a protest against gender-based violence in Chile, became a global sensation. Several clips featuring tens of women chanting “A Rapist In Your Way” went viral, and it’s sparked impassioned protests all around the world.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, dozens gathered outside the supreme court building of Santiago, Chile for a feminist flash mob.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5TzGYlFqen/

Organized by a local feminist collective, the performance was titled “Un violador en tu camino” (“A rapist in your way”). The song and accompanying dance takes on the patriarchy as the cause both of violence against women and the victim shaming that often comes after. “Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vestía,” they sang (“and the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed”).

The chant addressed the failure of the justice system to protect women.

The lyrics of the chant quote a verse of the Chilean police anthem, “Sleep calmly, innocent girl, without worrying about the bandit. For over your smiling, sweet dreams, watches your loving cop.”

Las Tesis is the Chilean group that organized the flashmob.

The group, Las Tesis, organized the performance which was inspired by the work of renowned Latin American feminist and professor Rita Laura Segato. Her thinking, the group said, moved them to create a flash mob that would show rape not just as a crime against an individual woman, but the expression of a larger social issue.

The protest struck a chord for thousands of women around the world, clips of the Chilean protest went viral in just a matter of hours.

The protest has since spread outside of Chile. In Mexico City, a square full of women of all ages joined a similar flash mob on Nov. 29.

Public performances of the song have also been held in other cities, including Bogotá, Madrid, Barcelona, London, and Paris.

In Spain, the ‘intervention’ as the group calls it, was held in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Barcelona and at the Plaza de Reina Sofia in Madrid.

In Paris, feminists chanted in their native French.

A French feminist collective chanted “Le violeur c’est toi,” in front of the Eiffel Tower. “As feminists in Paris we are responding to the call made by #LasTesis from Chile to raise our voice against femicides and rape!” tweeted a representative of the collective, “The rapist is you, the police, the justice system, the state, the society!” they chanted.

English and Chilean women joined in on the global protest in the UK.

In the UK, women staged an intervention in Bristol as well as in London. A group of Chilean women gathered outside the Chilean Embassy in London to join the protest against sexual violence towards women.

‘A Rapist In Your Way’ was also performed in Berlin.

More women rallied in the German capital to stage another intervention of what has quickly turned into a global protest.

The powerful performance has become an anthem for women everywhere.

‘A Rapist In Your Way’ has sparked a powerful movement of people who simply ask for respect, for justice and equality, for an end to impunity. What was originally just a one-day event to protest locally, has evolved into a worldwide movement and has made women acutely aware of their power, but also of the commonalities of the injustices they all suffer —no matter their geographic location.

“I’m fighting for myself, for my generation of young people and for the generation of my daughter,” Belifet Antones, who participated in the intervention performance of Mexico City with her two-year-old daughter, told the newspaper El Universal. “I believe that women carrying out these kinds of protests can achieve something better for us women… I don’t want to leave this violent Mexico to my daughter… I don’t want anybody to murder her, to rape her,” she said.

Mexico is the most dangerous country for women in the world.

Ten women are killed on average every day in Mexico, making the country one of the most dangerous for females in the world. Acknowledging the protest, Mexico City’s Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum reiterated her government’s commitment to do everything possible to ensure that the capital is a safe city for women. Just last week, the mayor issued a gender alert for Mexico City, activating a range of measures to address violence against women, after much pressure from several marches and protests that took place this 2019.

Mexico City Has Been Chosen To Host The First Ever Spotify Music Awards And We Can’t Wait

Entertainment

Mexico City Has Been Chosen To Host The First Ever Spotify Music Awards And We Can’t Wait

Spotify

A lot of people in Mexico City use Spotify which is why it made sense for the company to launch their new annual awards show there. The inaugural event will take place on March 5, 2020. Unlike other music award shows, where a select group of members decides the winners, the platform will allow fans to dictate the victors using streaming data — and it appears to be centered around Mexico and Latin America. 

Having the awards show obviously will encourage users to stream their favorite artists more often but launching the show in Mexico City will cement the brand as one that can recognize the importance of musical audiences outside of the United States. The Spotify Awards will be aired live on TNT and will be aimed at Spanish-speakers in Latin America. 

Mexico City is a Spotify City.

Spotify released a video to promote the award show and it is entirely in Spanish and filmed in Mexico. 

“A multicultural mecca of nearly 22 million residents, the greater Mexico City metropolitan area is more populous than both the greater Los Angeles and greater New York City areas, respectively,” the streaming service declared.

According to Variety, Mexico City has the highest concentration of users in the world, more than any other city including New York, Paris, Chile, Santiago, and London. In 2018, Spotify declared the city the “streaming music capital” just five years after launching the service in Mexico. 

“Mexico City has evolved in a few short years from being Spotify’s first-ever Latin American market, in 2013, to our largest listener base worldwide today. Since we launched in Mexico City, Spotify has opened international artists’ eyes to this global music epicenter as a place to expand their reach and connect with new audiences,” Spotify said 2018. 

Artists appear to be flocking to Mexico City because they know they have a solid fanbase there.

The brand seems certain that Mexico City a trendsetting cultural mecca. It noted that the diverse population and their tastes made the city an epicenter for both established and new artists. The company noted the headliners for the 2018 Corona Capital music festival, like Imagine Dragons, Robbie Williams, and Nine Inch Nails, had their music streamed the most in Mexico City. 

The devotion of chilangos, seems to be pulling in aspiring artists to the city to broaden their audience. 

“We’re seeing a wave of touring artists, like genre-bending singer-songwriter Mon Laferte from Chile and alt-rock band Diamante Eléctrico from Colombia, flock to Mexico City to connect with fans and make their mark,” Spotify said. 

Users don’t just decide the awards, they decide the categories.

Spotify has 248 million users worldwide, and the fate of their inaugural award show depends on them. At the Spotify Awards, user-generated data will determine the finalists, winners and the categories. 

“Thanks to streaming and the true audience size of Mexico, users are in the front seat like never before. We decided to celebrate this by recognizing what users love based entirely on their listening. The Spotify Awards is all about this, giving everyone an opportunity to be part of the show,“ Mia Nygren, Spotify’s Managing Director for Latin America, said in a statement. 

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out considering Latinx artists have been dominating streaming services for the last few years and Spotify included some of those genres in their press release. 

“That’s right: your streaming choices — whether hip-hop or rock, reggaeton, band, or cumbia — matter,” they wrote.  “Your plays, patterns, and habits will help determine the award categories, finalists, and winners, for the Spotify Awards by providing a true reflection of what fans are listening to.”

This could mean far more interesting categories that just “Best Rock” or “Best Rap” — Latinx streamers could possibly be establishing more diverse awards categories like “Best Reggaeton” or “Best Cumbia,” with their listening habits alone. Moreover, the show is airing in Spanish which has to mean that the Spotify Awards are going to look a whole lot different than the 2020 Grammy Awards, and perhaps even the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards, where many reggaeton artists felt snubbed. We’ll just have to find out on March 5.