The Daily Rambling Artist: Drinking the Agua Fresca: How Sounds Can Permeate Creativity

The Daily Rambling Artist: Drinking the Agua Fresca: How Sounds Can Permeate Creativity

When I was little, I couldn't stand tamarindo, a drink known for its distinct flavor. It wasn't until well into my adulthood that I began to crave the taste of it. It's strange, considering how much I disliked it as a child.

I've often wondered about these instances. I think it's perhaps a manifestation of weird childhood rebellion. I've noticed a similar pattern with music. While I've always had eclectic taste, there were certain genres I wouldn't tread near, like Country and Tejano.

But around the time I developed a taste for tamarindo, I found myself wandering into record stores, perusing the country music section. Admittedly, much of what I'd heard blaring from speakers as a child still doesn't resonate with me. Between those silly records, I’d hear something older, that I retained and hit my nostalgia button when I was older.

I recall a pit stop at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo with my brother. As we walked in, I heard music that seemed straight out of a cartoon, where tumbleweeds would roll across the screen. It turned out to be Slim Whitman. A significant portion of my vinyl collection now resembles his records. It's a bit of an obsession.

Tejano, norteño, and other Spanish music genres are recent additions to my playlist. In this case, I think the music became linked to environments I'd rather avoid as a child. But, much like tamarindo, I've come back to savor the aqua fresca of these sounds.

I once attended a talk by an artist I greatly admire, and he spoke about how visual environment seeps into creative work. He was absolutely right. I see the dilapidated buildings of my neighborhoods reflected in all my artistic creations. Lately, I've noticed the musical essence of that environment creeping into my work more and more. It's truly fascinating how we, as humans, absorb and reinterpret our surroundings.

-Sergio Santos