Desert Freedom Music

Jon Rose and Hollis Taylor were in town this week from Australia as part of a three day trip along the US/Mexico border. From California through Arizona they've been checking out and playing some of the newly built walls and fences that separate the two countries. If you have not had a chance to check out their workyou should. From Hollis' spot-on transcriptions of bird song and fence music, to Jon's passion for violins and pretty much all things bowed, it is worth the trip and time. On the second day they were here, Jon and I set out for Sasabe, a sleepy port of entry town in Southern Arizona, to explore the sonic possibilities. Two years ago I'd played some of the barbed wire fences, migrant water jugs, shrines and other ephemera in the area as part of The Anta Project. Returning two years later, it was odd to see how much has changed in that period of time (See the photos Jon took of the old fencing that still stands in Mexcio and the new wall). Where ocotillo posts, mattress coils, hundred year old train rails and barbed wire once delineated the border, a sprawling wall of steel columns and so-called "virtual fences" have sprung up. While it's questionable how long those structures will last or how effective they will be at keeping people out, it was clear the new wall can make some elegant music. Tunneling, ladders, hack saws, or simply walking around the locations where the wall terminates seem to be some kinks they still need to work out. Personally, I can think of no better way to celebrate freedom as an American on this Fourth of July weekend than traveling the Arizona outback, conversing with Homeland Security checkpoint guards armed with Geiger counters, getting pointers on the fine art of fence bowing, meeting the people who are walling in the country, banging on some imported steel, improvising with hovering Border Patrol helicopters and basking in the beauty that is the Sonoran Desert. Till again, stay tuned and let freedom ring. Glenn ~~ And yes, I now know traveling is spelled with only one L. Everyone's an editor these days. Yeesch! ~~

sasabe wall being built