Opinion: Sounds of El Camino Real Bring New, Diverse Perspectives
San Jose Mercury (September 23th, 2021) – Opinion: Sounds of El Camino Real Bring New, Diverse Perspectives
Opinion: Sounds of El Camino Real bring new, diverse perspectives
El Camino Real, otherwise known as Highway 101, the Mission Road, the Silicon Valley freeway, the King’s Road, the road with the bells — yes, that road — was not always a royal road of Spanish kings, connecting continents and churches in the name of faith. And its passage was never truly open because it was forged through the extraction of human souls and natural resources.
Before the arrival of “conquistadors” to North America, indigenous people created trade routes for commerce between communities. According to the National Park Service, which maintains sections of the United States portion of El Camino in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, these footpaths were forged around 1000 AD. The routes branched throughout the southwest region of the United States and spanned north from Mexico City through the Sonora desert, the entire length of California, into New Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. When Spanish colonizers entered these regions, Native Americans often guided them through unfamiliar and daunting landscapes.
A unique creative collaboration between San Jose State University, TomKat MeDiA and Camino Arts commissioned two projects to elucidate through music the evocative history of El Camino. Called Camino Chronicles, the two-day series arrives in San Jose just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), and offers two world premieres of new music by Mexican and Mexican-American composers
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Shannon Miller is dean of the College of Humanities and Arts at San Jose State University. Marcela Davison Avilés is managing partner of TomKat MeDiA and founder of Chapultepec Group. Kat Taylor is Co-Founder of TomKat MeDiA and Founding Director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation.