General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 28 Feb 2021/5 Monkey
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Nahua villagers playing a large Aztec drum in a procession in San Isidro Buensuceso

Old film evidence of an Aztec drum being played by Nahua villagers

Nearly half a century ago - in August 1971, while volunteering with the American Friends Service Committee on a summer workcamp in the Nahua village of San Isidro Buensuceso, Tlaxcala (on the slopes of the volcano La Malinche) - Mexicolore Director Ian Mursell filmed this clip of a religious procession; it’s a snippet from a 20-minute film, shot on Super 8 with an amateur Kodak cine camera that has recently been rediscovered in our archives...

4-second clip from the 1971 film shot in San Isidro Buensuceso

The (silent) film contains scenes of local village scenes, children) the church, the school, volunteers building a road, a festival in the main square, fireworks, breaking a piñata, and Mexican folk dancing. We hope to find a way to show the film to today’s residents of San Isidro - known as having the largest proportion of native Nahuatl-speaking inhabitants in Mexico - in the hope that some older villagers may recognise themselves as youngsters in this rather unique footage.
We would also love to discover more about the large tlalpanhuehuetl, a vertical drum of the type played by the Mexica/Aztecs: we assume it’s a ‘modern’ copy (or is it?) Where is it today? Is it still played each year? It appears (click to enlarge the above photo) to be played by a drummer while being carried/supported by a colleague. This is highly unusual since most of these drums were/are played standing firmly on the ground. If anyone can help shed any light on this, please get in touch...!

NOTE: The tiny clip shown here is only a ‘screen grab’ from a monitor; the original has a longer section of the drumming/procession and is of better quality...

Scene from The Magnificent Seven in which an Aztec-style vertical drum is played in a procession
Scene from The Magnificent Seven in which an Aztec-style vertical drum is played in a procession (Click on image to enlarge)

NOTE 2 - 2020
Strangely, while giving ourselves some light entertainment during the coronavirus, we watched that cheesy classic film The Magnificent Seven (1960), filmed on location near Cuernavaca. There’s a scene during the village festival in which a procession takes place AGAIN with a musician walking while carrying and playing a huehuetl style drum!

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