Canta la Calle

Presentation of the work involved in the elaboration of the CD with the Mojoca: Movimiento de jovenes de la Calle (Movement of the Youth of the streets) in Guatemala City.



(The Street Sings)


Guatemala December 2011
By: Theresia Bothe


This CD was made possible by a large number of individuals who have worked together, even living in different parts of the world, like Guatemala, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico or France, and created a network. We have something in common: we believe in change and in the need we have to work together, in the value of art, music and culture in general to help provide a bond that unites no matter where we are. There is a hunger for change and openness, it is not just local, this hunger is worldwide. What we can learn from the street is extremely valuable because it is an open place that belongs to everyone, a place of encounter and exchange. It is an important task to make it be again a truly shared space, to allow ourselves to have time, to "lose" time and create culture. The values of the people who
inhabit the streets are not based on the social norms we know, for they live at the margin of our society. It is true that they have a lot to learn, after suffering so much violence, they learn to react with violence, however, it is of great beauty to find between them a deep respect towards friendship and an unmatched ability to live the moment. I have no doubt we need also to learn from them, especially related to the changes we so much desire.


Origin of this work:
"Canta la Calle" originated with the desire of Gerard Lutte – who is the founder of Mojoca – which was to bring music to the Mojoca Movement of the street youth, an organized group of street kids
who help each other. We met in Sardinia, at a conference about extreme poverty. He asked me to come to Guatemala and spread a little music in the Movement. For several years now I have worked integrating music into the work of organizations working to improve our society, singing at conferences, benefit concerts and so on – but what emerged from the visit to Guatemala and working with the Mojoca was something new. Getting to know these kids and singing with the young people of the street awakened a desire to write music that could represent somehow what they live, what they feel and give them a voice to express themselves. This album of songs is the concrete result.


Short history:
To be able to come to Guatemala for the first time and start off the project, I organized – together with some associations – a few concerts in Europe. The concerts were free and in each one I explained the idea of the work to be done, and asked for a donation. It was exclusively through these donations that the basic expenses for founding the choir were paid. It also allowed us to hire Salvador Ovalle, a Guatemalan musician, flexible and dedicated, to continue the work going twice a week to sing with the kids.
Meanwhile, in Switzerland Michelangelo Rinaldi, an Italian pianist and oboist, felt inspired and moved by the desire to be part of the project and has continued to organize concerts for raising funds to ensure the continuation of this Project. In the concerts, that take place in Basel, everyone donates something they can afford: the musicians play for free, the hall is also offered free of charge and the people who attend give a contribution to our musical project. All people are all informed about the work we are doing in the Mojoca with young people who have ended up on the streets and wish to change their lives.


The songs:
"Fe de edad" was the first song I wrote for them. It is a song in which they ask for an identity. Most of the kids have never been registered, and have no ID whatsoever. In many cases they don't know
their parents, or have no relation to them anymore. It is a hard issue to deal with. Their reaction towards this song was very moving. In our first performance most of them cried, because it speaks of their painful reality. When I arrived this time in Guatemala and came to the House of the Mojoca, a boy I had never seen before but who had been told that I wrote the song for them, came up to me and sang it full of emotion and said to me; “That is my song!” Most of the songs are from the point of view of the street inhabitants, they talk about the difficulties but also the beauty and freedom that they get to know.

"Canta la Calle" is the first CD * made according to the ideals of "Music of Chance for Change" an association founded in 2003 in Basel, Switzerland in which music carries a message, creates a
specific atmosphere, is an outlet for grief or joy, or becomes the thread that unites people who feel the need for change toward a more humane and just World.


* "We're all on the Road" is a CD with a collection of songs that talk mainly about human trafficking, this production will be released in Italy in the spring of 2012.