Project Description

The Hummingbird Music Project is a cultural exchange program between the Appalachian Mountain area of America and the Michoacan Mountain area of Mexico. It is a cultural music exchange of traditional Appalachian music and traditional Mexican music. The program was conceived by musicologist Doug Beatty during his travels to some indigenous Indian communities in the Michoacon Mountains in Mexico.

While visiting a friend who lives with the Purepecha Indians in Tzintzuntzan, he was struck by the similarity between the Indian communities and the coal towns of Southern Appalachia. The towns are typically small and suffer from high unemployment. The church is the center of the community both spiritually and socially. Almost everyone is related by blood or marriage and music is the common thread that ties all of this together. Even the orchestras of the traditional American Bluegrass & Country bands and the local Purepecha musicians look alike. They both feature a standup bass, guitar, mandolin and fiddle. However the style of play is very different, because the Purepecha musicians pick less and strum more. After this realization, Doug conceived the idea of bringing one American band to the mountains of Mexico and recording the interaction between the American musicians and residents of the Indian communities. The idea was so well received by both residents and participants in both countries that it has grown into a multi-national concert event with three American bands and three Purepecha orchestras participating over a four day period. To fulfill the cultural exchange objective, another concert event will take place in the Tri-Cities area in Southwestern Virginia. This event will be known as Taco de Mayo utilizing the same performers as the Mexican version.

Herein the Hummingbird International Music Festival was born. The name Hummingbird was chosen because the host village’s name translates to hummingbird. Note worthy is the fact that hummingbirds in Southern Appalachia migrate here each year from the mountains of Mexico. This cultural music exchange will be the migration of mountain music.

This music festival will consist of the three American bands performing twice daily separately in three different villages for the first 3 days. The fourth day will feature the three American bands playing alongside with Mexican bands for a daylong music event on the grounds of a 500 year monastery. The venue can host 25,000 people who will get to experience Appalachian music for the first time. The concerts will be free to the public. The three American bands that will be performing are Bill and the Belles from Bristol, Fireside Collective from Asheville and the ETSU Old Time Ramblers. Videographers will record the entire eight day trip for use as a documentary and album to be released later. While the bands collaborate on the monastery show, we may have the good fortune of recording the birth of a new genre of music as the musicians share and influence each other.


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Contact Information

Hummingbird Music Project
260 W Main Street
Abingdon, Virginia, 24210
Phone: 276-623-0037