Color and Sound

A Day In the Life of Plaza de las Armas

This is a look at life in the Álamos plaza between 1993 and 1996. Much has changed
since then but much continues as it has for hundreds of years. Photos and video
editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music, “Mystic Hoedown,” is by the
Dig Brothers/SonicAtomics featuring Denver Clay and Anders.

Álamos in 1984 3:03

Álamos, Sonora, México in 1984, Spring time, as seen by Anders Tomlinson via
black and white film. Music is “A New Dawn” by the “Dig Brothers” under
the musical direction of Denver Clay. Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
It is warm and breezy.

Álamos Portraits, Flowers & Details

Portraits, flowers and details from Álamos, Sonora, Mexico via Anders
Tomlinson photos. Music is “Escapades” by the Dig Brothers under the
musical direction of Denver Clay. Solo guest artist is the mockingbird.
Additional photos by Gary Ruble. Video editing by Anders Tomlinson.

A Way of Life

Behold a Cornucopia of Color, Shapes, Textures and Scents.The flora of Álamos
is the many splendors of Sinaloan tropical forest and Sonoran desert living
together in unexpected harmony. Many properties have gardeners watering,
pruning, consulting, planting, cutting, raking, commiserating, trimming and…
year round. Flowers and vegetables are planted in November for winter blooms
and crops that last until May or June’s heat… Mangos, papayas, bananas,
palms, amapas, orchidias and other trees provide food and shelter for native
and migrating birds. Cascades of colors come from flowering vines: blue
veracruzana, orange trumpet, red, magenta and orange bougainvilla and…
And the smells and scents that envelope one’s senses… Formal, informal…
it all contributes to this symphony and riot that is the passing seasons
in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Photos, editing and produced by Anders Tomlinson. Music is “Jardin de Colores”,
written and performed by Samuel Delatorre Dorame, from his 2013 CD
“Memorias de Álamos, Sonora.”

View from Above

Mt. Álamos is some 6,500 feet above sea level. It towers 5,000 feet above
the town of Álamos. It is another world, wild parrots, dry tropical forest,
granite and… Up and down is a day’s effort, it is well worth it.
To reach the top it is recommended to start hiking early while it is still
dark and cool.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

Here was Silver

Here, seven miles west of Álamos, at 2,500 feet elevation with surrounding
mountains as high as 4,700 feet, Aduana has a few hundred people where once
there was 5,000. A church, country store, cemetery, a small restaurant-inn,
a plaza with a dry fountain in its center are surrounded by the past.
Spanish conquistador Vasquez de Coronado camped here during the winter
of 1540-41. He was searching for gold in what turned out to be mountains
with veins of silver. The mines closed in 1906 after nearly 400 years of
continuous mining. La Aduana was the “custom office”, it was all about
taxes and royalties.Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.


It is another day in the graveyard. Not just another day… but another day.
It has been this way since 1794 when this plot of land was deemed the municipal
cemetery. Graveyards are a special place: they are public art, they are public
history and they are markers of their own civilization. And another day begins…
and somewhere out there someone is dying and somewhere near here someone is being
born. In the end it is all about this precious balance we call life.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

Bishop Reyes Cathedral

Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral takes up the entire southern side of the Plaza de
las Armas in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Its three tiered belfry towers above
town and touches low passing clouds. Along with multiple daily services
the church is also a religious classroom. Religion speaks of yesterdays,
todays, and tomorrows. It speaks of better days and better places. Religious
followers are asked to endure and conceptually, eventually, benefit from
their days of survival and struggle on this small planet.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

And Then the Storm Came

The summer rains are here, the sweet night air cools warm bodies bringing
relief and contemplation. The purity and hope of laughing young couples,
alone with each other, drenched to the bone, clinging wet clothes, make
their way home late at night splashing and dancing in cobblestone puddles.
Above, the heavens explode, a cannonade of thunder rumbles across silhouetted
mountain ridges backlit by fantastic lightening. It is time to go to asleep
under one sheet in the cool of a warm night. And then the big storm,
remnants of a tropical typhoon, arrived. In an instant the sky turned
angry dark, the air became colder and a deafening wind shrieked through
the trees. It rained and continuously howled from late afternoon until
just before dawn. In the morning, stunned town folk came out and watched
from a safe distance the fast running rivers that are normally dry arroyos.
Over the coming days waters receded, children played in cool shallow pools
and rock men filled their trucks with fresh sand. Photos and editing by
Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

The Place to Be and Be Seen

It is a wonderful feeling to sit with a friend in the plaza on a pleasant
evening. Here, one can watch people come, be and go. This is the a place
to be seen and see. When all have come and gone it becomes a romantic refuge
for a young couple. 
Imagine horse drawn carriages, burro pack trains, and cars
that have come into Álamos along these streets. Imagine the families that have
been here for centuries. Imagine the change of government, some peaceful some
violent. It is all here in the shadows of night. Photos and editing by Anders
Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

It is In The Night That the Past Dances Down Narrow Streets

Oh little town of Álamos. Lights sparkle in the evening darkness. Pungent
smells float with the shifting breeze. Music, live and recorded, rises up
from the homes and neighborhoods. Birds sing under star filled skies.
Dogs bark and cars pass by. Footsteps on cobblestone and smoke from fireplaces
create mystic moments. Children of all ages play late into the night on the
quiet streets. Night time is not threatening, it is a celebration of another
day both coming and going. Night time is magical. The town seems smaller.
The world becomes all you can see looking down a street. It is easy to focus
on the smallest thing. And behind the walls there are other worlds: private
legacies, conversations., comforts, learnings, entertainments, deliberations,
 Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

The Commercial center of Álamos

The commercial center of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, the Alameda, was laid out
in 1769 and it has been busy ever since, some decades more than others.
Today, it iwas bustling with activity. The bus station is the transportation
hub for surrounding towns and ranches. The Alameda is a center of activity
with bars, offices, shops, gas station and markets … This is Mexico working,
traveling and playing. Boom boxes serenade food carts and shoe shines.
Photos, editing and produced by Anders Tomlinson.
Music is “Vientos Sonorenses”, Antonio Saavedradorame and
Samuel Delatorre Dorame. Antonio and Samuel both added to this beautiful
melody titled “the Winds of Sonora”, It was arranged for the classical
guitar by Samuel for his 2013 CD – “Memorias de Álamos, Sonora.”

These images were shot in 1996. The Alameda is different now. Hurricane Norbert,
on October 12, 2008, flooded the Alameda and took out the giant cottonwood
shade trees. It remains the commercial center. A friend in Alamos commented
after watching this video, “the Alameda renovation surprised everyone and
really is beautiful. The new trees are maturing, all flagstone walks,
elimination of the two little ugly buildings at each end now with masonry
and stone, etc., etc. Actually none of the charm disappeared in the
process. The flood turned out to be a blessing for the Alameda.
Some other areas not so, but the Alameda without the basketball court
truly improved the village. A good architect, Felipe Almada, spent time
making all of the changes and components work well with the existing
gardens and gazebo.

Álamos Working & Walking

Working and walking in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico via Anders Tomlinson
photos with additional photos by Gary Ruble. Music is “Sub-Shimmy”
by the Dig Brothers under the musical direction of Denver Clay.
Editing By Anders Tomlinson.

2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition

Anders Tomlinson arrived in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico on February 22 and
departed on March 6, 2017. Antonio Figueroa, an Álamos photographer
and friend from previous Anders visits 21 years earlier spent three days
with Anders and helped document life in Álamos with video, photos and
audio recordings. This video are photos by Antonio Figueroa edited by
Anders Tomlinson. Soundtrack by Denver Clay and SonicAtomics.

A special place in Álamos

Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, México is a special place
in a special town in a special landscape. It was originally built
for a wealthy silver baron in the 17th century. This video is a
roughcut of a work in progress and will be updated as changes are
made. Photos and video editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music is
Los Hacendados performing “Chan Chan” by Compay Segundo.

For those with iPads visit Álamos, Sonora, Mexico to watch videos. 

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