Juan Carlos de la Parra
Water drops kept falling from the trees in the central plaza. The
musicologist was walking towards the music coming from the other
side of the street. When he finally got there, the disabled musician
caught his attention; at first he thought: this guy can really play
the requinto; and: he sings great! Then he decided the lame street
player was one of a kind. A gifted genius—a virtuoso!
The musicologist knows. He has a degree. He is a daydreamer; he
immediately starts picturing in his mind all the details of his
discovery. He will find a way to meet the musician, he will talk him
into doing some recordings, some interviews. He listens, transfixed.
The musicologist even thinks he knows what the musician’s answers
will be; he knows his background well enough, he plays with a
mixture of son Veracruzano and the mantric indigenous folk-song
style from Chiapas. The guy is just amazing, and he is playing for a
few pesos in the street where nobody seems to notice him. The
musicologist stands there, listening, dreaming.
His car is just a little further down the block from where the
musician is. The musicologist is ready to go, he has heard enough.
It is difficult to pull himself away from such amazing sound. This
musician is the discovery he has been hoping for all his life.
In his mind, as he walks to his car, he is already shooting a
video of the guy, who plays soulfully, and then he is right in a
recording studio, mixing the final cut, he and the musician with
headphones and all. While unlocking his car he never stops to
listen, and he doesn't realize that behind his back someone has
tossed a coin into the beggar's cup. And that the coin didn't enter
the cup but slid down the sideway and ended up in the street just
behind his car.
He wouldn't have noticed it because he was already sitting behind
the wheel, so intensely in his own thoughts, in a world he
understands all so well—interviews, acclaimed articles, great
reviews—that he doesn't care he doesn't see the musician through
the mirror, doesn't miss his image (in the mirror), because in his
head the picture is complete.
He does not hear that the musician has stopped playing.
He puts the car in reverse—he is thinking of artistic aliases,
names for albums, article's titles—and backs up, crushing the
musician who had, in a rush, attempted to retrieve a distant coin.
Juan Carlos de la Parra is a multimedia artist and writer. He
has receivced grants from Fonca and Foesca in Chiapas. His videos
have been shown and awarded in Tijuana, Merida, Monterrey, Cataluña,
Malaga, British Columbia and Toronto. He has published short stories
in the Sherezade Project from Princeton University, in Ecofronteras,
in El Caldero from Universidad Iberoamericana. He has published
several interactive documentaries in cd-rom, such as Lacandon Memory
and El Ocote, Area Natural Protegida.