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Alone together: Lone Piñon members collaborate remotely as part of virtual concert series

Jordan Wax plays violin and several other instruments in the band Lone Piñon. The band will perform a virtual concert on Friday, May 15. (Courtesy of Inga Hendrickson)

Filming a virtual concert was more time-consuming than anticipated for New Mexico band Lone Piñon.

The band’s members, who live in various parts of the state, had to find a way to perform together remotely to comply with stay-at-home restrictions.

“We all live in different communities in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and I live in Lone Butte, right by Cerrillos, New Mexico,” said Jordan Wax of Lone Piñon. “We weren’t able to get together in person, but we used different technologies to collaborate remotely through videos and recording songs. A lot of it you’ll see in the background, Lone Butte, but each person was recording from their own home.”

Wax, who contributes vocals and plays violin, piano and three-row accordions, mandolin, and guitar, said it was not possible to use a videoconference app such as Zoom to create the virtual concert.

“It was complicated, because there is a latency with those programs so you can’t actually play together live,” he said. “So we used Ableton, which is a recording software where we could start a track and share it with someone else and then collaborate. And then we recorded videos while we were recording those tracks. We used one program to mix the sound together and then a separate one to mix the videos together.”

It took weeks to put it all together. Audiences can enjoy the result at 7 p.m. Friday, May 15, by visiting facebook.com/InternationalFolkArt. The concert is part of “Our Fair New Mexico – A Virtual Concert Series” presented by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with state museums, historic sites and cultural institutions.

The band missed performing in front of live audiences but is happy to have found a way to connect with the community remotely.

“The music is really joyful, and knowing these technologies has definitely helped us connect,” Wax said. “It presents challenges of its own, but if it’s the best we can do in this time, it’s still a good way to connect and share this music, and the music is really joyful and uplifting, so I think it’s a good time to be able to be make it a part of people’s lives, even though we can’t play live.”

Lone Piñon will perform traditional New Mexico dance music passed down from older generations.

“Most of it is stuff we’ve learned from elder musicians,” Wax said. “The past couple years, we’ve had a chance to visit Antonia Apodaca a lot. She passed away in January. We were kind of planning this year to do a lot of music of hers to celebrate her life and her legacy. So we’re doing a lot of Antonia’s music and music from our friend Tomas Maes who is an elder mandolinist that we learned from and a couple tunes from an elder violinist from Santa Fe named Mariano Romero.”

The band also will perform a couple songs that come from archived northern New Mexico traditional music.

“It is a really traditional style of music that is unique to New Mexico and isn’t represented too much,” Wax said. “There isn’t a lot of recordings or videos just because it’s an older style and a traditional style carried by a lot of elders. It isn’t something that is really represented in the Facebook world and virtual concerts. It felt special to be able to create a space for these traditions in the modern context of these virtual shows and technological collaborations – kind of cool chance to see the music adapting to modern challenges.”

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