If you like documentary film, folk music of a very original kind, or Latin America, this project to find a mysterious Honduran band that plays narcocorrido music is worth checking out.
The two U.S. men spearheading the project, Chris Valdes and Ted Griswold, taught in the Olancho region of Honduras and kept hearing talk of Los Plebes de Olancho, one of the bands in the country that does the very tricky work of sitting down with narcotraficantes working in the cocaine industry and documenting their hair-raising, dangerous stories in songs.
The bands keep a pretty low profile, but Chris and Ted hope they'll be able to track down Los Plebes and tell the band's own story if they can scratch up the $38,000 they need to make their documentary. They've raised almost $9,000 in a matter of days, so are off to a good start, but they're trying to reach their goal within a month and head back to Honduras in October to start the hunt for Los Plebes. Get your pledge in before the Aug. 16 deadline.
The result won't be your typical rockumentary - the men hope to use the film to explore the theme of violence in Honduras, and whether narcocorridos glorify the tremendous violence in the cocaine industry or in fact just document what it's like to work in one of the world's most dangerous businesses.
I'm fascinated by the whole narcotrafico thing now that I'm living in a country where the business is a fact of life and probably an important economic driver if people were being honest about it. So I'm hoping the guys get their documentary off the ground just so I can learn more, seeing as it's one of those things that's kind of hard to quiz people about.
Copan Ruinas is located a mere 10 kilometres from the Guatemala border, and thus a key point for those who move cocaine for a living. I'm pretty sure the money from that business funds fancy truck purchases and repairs, real estate investment, big dinners at high-end restaurants, hotel getaways, a whole lot of construction in town, and private-school tuition for the kids.
The industry is completely integrated into "normal" life here. Nobody likes to talk about it, but you'd have to be blind not to see the impact it has on the local economy. It's just not possible to draw the line where legitimate income sources stop and drug money begins - in Honduras or anywhere that illegal drug production and distribution takes place. (Like in my home province of B.C., where marijuana production and sales generate a reported $6 billion a year.)
Good luck, Chris and Ted. Hope you find the money, find the band, and tell a story that's overdue to be told.
Here's a link to the promotional video for The Sound of Sangre. And check out Los Plebes de Olancho on YouTube.