The sounds of Mexico to be celebrated this week

Posted Aug 30, 2010 by Lynn Curwin
Mexico is full of interesting sounds, and the government has decided to celebrate its aural buffet by declaring this week to be National Sound Week.
Special events during the week include sound walks through cities, performances of recorded street noise and a contest to choose "The Most Beautiful Sound in Mexico."
"People who come from other countries may be bothered by all this noise, but for Mexicans, these sounds are part of our identity," Álvaro Hegewisch, director of Mexico's National Audio Archive, told USA Today.
Two-minute segments of "endangered sounds," such as the tapping of a cobbler’s hammer or the out-of-tune instruments played by organ grinders in Mexico City, will be played on government-run radio stations.
Another sound being featured is that of manual typewriters which public scribes, working at desks on sidewalks near government offices and courts, use to fill out forms or write letters for illiterate Mexicans.
In Chapultepec Park people will be able to listen to recordings of street sounds from India, Vancouver, Canada, the jungles of Chiapas and Mexico City.
In another area they can listen to sound effects imitating the 1910-20 Mexican Revolution.
The sounds of Mexico include the scissor-sharpening man on the pan flute, the hand bell of a rubbish truck, the whistle of a balloon vendor, the bell of an ice cream cart, and the steam whistle of a roasted yam oven.
Town criers still call out the headlines in some areas of Mexico, and there are communities where watchmen go through at 1 a.m., blowing a slide whistle to let people know all is well.
The National Audio Archive has about 274,000 sound recordings in storage. The archive is inviting people to describe their favourite Mexican sounds online, and the sound chosen most often will be named "The Most Beautiful Sound in Mexico".