when i opened my mouth, what came out was a song.
When I was growing up... which wasn't really that long ago, I guess... I used to think I was cursed. In a way, we kind of were, but not at all in the way I'd always thought for myself. I did that a lot, more than I care to admit. Think about me, I mean, but hey, I was only a niño. It was normal. What wasn't normal was the lengths I'd have to go to just to keep musica in my life, what pieces of it I could get here and there. That
was what I believed my curse to be: that I, someone who could love musica so deeply from just the first note strummed on a guitar, who wouldn't have been surprised if I bled musica somehow, could have possibly been born into a familia dead set (oh, bad joke, now that I've said it, but you'll find out why later) on continuing on a long-passed ancestor's wish to banish any and all musica from our lives. Because of one man. Because of one man's human mistakes
that we all make, one very bad decision, and there I was, generations later, doomed to be in love with the unattainable. Ay, that sounds like a story out of some telenovella mi madre would watch. Maybe I worded that dramatically. Alright, maybe there's no maybe about it; I did, but that was how it felt. I needed
musica. When I heard a song... and in secret, when I played a song... I felt alive.
Everything changed; the air was different, I
was different, feeling something electric inside of me and centered in my heart. Don't get me wrong: I loved mi familia. I just... sometimes wondered if I loved la musica more. I wondered if they would love me less if I told them the truth. I wondered a lot of things, some better than others. Some worse. But none of them could stop me. Nothing any of them said about our ancestors and our traditions (completely unlike the other familias in Santa Cecilia, mind you) and how proud
I should be to one day carry on my destiny as a Rivera, a zapatero, could stop me. I felt like I was only half alive, day to day. Just... existing.
I felt like Mamá Coco understood, somehow, but of course I still didn't dare breathe a word of what I actually wanted. As much as I felt she wouldn't have told, her room was just too close. Someone else could hear me. I couldn't risk that, but I told her just about everything else... Even though she didn't really say much back to me, I really miss her. I never felt judged by her. Okay, so she didn't know my name sometimes, but that's not the point. It didn't matter what my name was; what mattered was the kind of person I was with her, and she didn't mind. Mamá Imelda was Mamá Coco's madre, so even though she had carried on her madre's wishes for no musica and it was her papá who had left and caused it all in the first place... I don't know, I felt like she would have accepted me for it if she knew. I still do.
I admit that I didn't handle things maybe the way that I should have, but at the same time... How could I have done them any differently? Nothing was going to change if I didn't try. Some advice: think long and hard about it before you take a guitar from a tomb, even if you think they're tu familia. Especially on Dia de los Muertos. The land of the dead is a very colorful place, not like you may think. It was beautiful, even though the skeletons took some getting used to... mine most of all. That wasn't the level of try I had been expecting, for musica to truly become a life or death matter, but it was too late for that. Funny thing about this sort of story: you can't even impress anyone with the cool things you did there! Frida Kahlo told me I have the spirit of an artist! No one's going to believe that. I wouldn't either, if I hadn't been there. I solved a murder! Well, no, I didn't solve it and I'm getting ahead of myself anyway... I ran away from mi familia. I didn't understand they really did mean well for me; I only understood that what I wanted was absolutely not what they wanted, and they'd never see it the way I did. They would never let me choose my own path, no matter where it led, and... I said some things I regret. Some stupid things. But I had to try and seize my moment, even if it meant I was alone. Even if it meant I couldn't come home.
and you knew every word, and we all sang along.
Haven Hill advises you to hide your identity, right? He's a kid at heart, but he's not a stupid kid. Miguel was out of the question. Regrettable, but it's fine. He gets it, mostly. River
comes from, of course, Rivera. It's his family, and he finally understood how important they were! And they
finally understood him too! It's definitely not an obvious nod to anyone trying to find him, but that's where other names come in. River also sounds ~cool as a musician right?.... Right!?.... Well, anyway. Héctor
went through so much and really was the greatest musician in Mexican history. He deserves to be remembered. So this is his way of trying. Socorro
is the actual name of Mama Coco! If his familia is gonna recognize a name, it's gonna be that one. And hopefully the familiarity of River will help.
Tony Revolori is a young actor of Guatemalan heritage. I was really struggling to find Mexican actors in the age range that I wanted, with the look that I wanted. There are certainly differences between Guatemala and Mexico, and I don't mean to sound like I'm saying "close enough," but... well. He's a latinx actor, from Central America, with a spot on look for Miguel. So I'm going with it.
November 1st. Yes, he really went there and picked Dia de los Muertos. Deal with it.
River is still striving to become a musician. As it is, he gets low level gigs in bars and such, and he posts his own work on Youtube and the like. He's pushed himself so much to learn how to write music and start doing it. He's not a genius, but he's a guitar whiz kid and he's picked up on the writing part quickly enough. He also works in a guitar shop. Unfortunately it doesn't pay very well, but the old man who owns and runs it likes his spark and it gives him more hands-on experience (and reason to play on the job).
POWERS & ABILITIES:
Ummmm getting into trouble unintentionally and playing (preferably acoustic) guitar.
Miguel gets sent back to the land of the living, left to wonder what becomes of Héctor and the others.