A set featuring cello, guitar and synthsisers filmed inside Mexico City’s Museo Anahuacalli.
Mabe Fratti is a Guatemala-born experimental cellist and composer, now based in Mexico City. Her music makes use of cello, voice and synthesisers, drawing on the influence of classical forms such as Gregorian chants and Sephardi music and combining them with modern genres like shoegaze and dream pop to create expansive, emotive compositions.
In this Patch Notes performance, Fratti performs inside Mexico City’s Museo Anahuacalli (part of the city’s Fideicomiso de los Museos Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo), a 20th century building designed by Mexican painter Diego Rivera to house his collection of over 41,000 pre-Hispanic artworks. It was planned as a ‘City for the Arts’ that would encompass painting, dance, music, theatre, crafts and ecology. The building’s architecture draws on the influence of Teotihuacan and Maya cultures, and was opened in the 1960s after Rivera’s death in 1957.
“Anahuacalli is a beautiful space in Mexico City that is somehow overlooked, partly because it’s not so close to the centre of the city, but it holds a large collection of pre-Hispanic pieces that Diego Rivera collected obsessively,” Frazzi says. “The space was chosen together with Adriana Lara, from Red Social, a production house that focuses on portraying the musical production in Mexico from a visual perspective, valuing experimentation and performance as a meeting point in between disciplines. The proposal to Museo Anahuacalli consisted in making a reading of this space, revisiting Diego Rivera’s intention for it to be activated as a multidisciplinary and experimental studio, but also capturing its theatrical character.”
“The building has three floors, the first is called “underworld”, the second “earth” and the third “heaven”. Each floor has a specific character, specific pieces, and symbols on the walls and ceilings. We chose the underworld because it had a big altar, besides being the only space that Diego Rivera saw constructed before he died, he couldn’t see the rest of the building. He wanted to be buried there, but the family wouldn’t let that happen. It felt that we were playing from the core of earth towards heaven.”
Fratti performed alongside Fernando Franco, who plays a Moog Grandmother synth with a Zen Delay, and Hector Tosta, who plays guitar alongside a host of effects including a Boss Delay DD3 and TC Electronics Alter Ego Analogue Echo pedal. Fratti’s cello is sent through effects including a Line 6 Delay DL4 , Moog MoogerFooger Ring Modulator and Boss Octaver OC3.
The set is made up of existing material that includes “improvisational interventions” in its structure. “The tracks were ‘Aire’, which is a very epic and dramatic song, it has a very noisy and intense outro,” Fratti says. “Next we played ‘Hacia el Vacío’, which is a long track that combines rhythmical melodic parts with dense, atmospheric parts. The last track, ‘Cuerpo de Agua’, is a mixture of a dense track and an inspired ‘baroque’ outro, a gesture that is emphasised with the synthesisers.”
The tracks played in the set can be found on Mabe Fratti’s latest album, Será que ahora podremos entendernos, which was released in June on Unheard of Hope. Fratti will be touring across 2021 and 2022, with shows in October at London’s Cafe OTO and Manchester venue The Peer Hat.
Special thanks to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums’ Trust.
Artistic Direction: Red Social
Photography: Arturo Mejía and Azael Arroyo
Sound Recording: Alien Persa, Jorge Ramos & Sonido Doppler
Musicians: Fernando Franco (Synth), Hector Tosta (Guitar, Synth) & Mabe Fratti (Cello, vocals)
Mixing: Mabe Fratti
Master: Mason LeLong