Listening Journal # 3: Long Form Documentary # 1

October 25, 2009 at 12:35 am (Listening Journals) (, , , , , , , , )

Lima is the capital and largest city in Peru. It is where musician Lucho Hernandez plays piano in most of its restaurants.

Lima is the capital and largest city in Peru. It is where musician Lucho Hernandez plays piano in most of its restaurants.

Tur de Lima

Criteria for reviewing:
1- Who (or what company) produced the documentary?
2- Who narrated the documentary?
3- What was the length of the documentary?
4- Describe the documentary.
5- Why was the documentary interesting?
6- Quality of the narrator’s voice?
7- Was the documentary too long? Too short?
8- Other observations/suggestions.

1- The producers of the documentary: Lucho Hernandez (the narrater) and Jesse Hardman.

2- The narrator of the documentary is the man on which the documentary is based (Lucho Hernandez). He is a Peruan visually-impaired musician who recognizes every part in Lima, Peru’s capital only by its sounds. There was no voice of a reporter or an interviewer.

3- The length of the documentary is 11:29 minutes.

4- Description of the documentary:
The documentary is a “sound tour” all across Lima as Hernandez, the narrator, describes it. As he is walking, he describes what is on the corner and what building is there. So when he comes across a corner, he says there is the radio building and the piece would take us to nat sound of woman that he later explains is announcing the weather. All through the piece, there is a background sound of birds. Hernandez explains that Lima’s streets are so full of trees that you can always hear birds’ sounds above your head.

5-The documentary was very interesting to me for a couple of reasons. It is so rich with nat (natural) sounds that have made me envision Lima and actually see where this sound is coming from. The quality was also compelling, so I didn’t feel bored or annoyed because of what I will call “excessive” use of nat sound. But I have to say this was all the documentary was about, a visually-impaired man who has his perfect sense in his ears, so it was beautifully used. Another factor that made this piece interesting to me was the voice of the narrator, the musician, Hernandez. His old voice with this charming Spanish accent made me feel like my grandpa was talking, making me recollect this feel of warmth hearing that voice. I felt like his voice connected with the places he was recognizing just by passing by them and without actually seeing them. So, it was full of life, the kind that Lima has all through its streets and people with their beautiful Spanish. Also, Hernandez didn’t leave out anything without elaborating it like as he walks through the market, he would describe how a market is like in Peru or what people do. So, it was interesting keeping me connected through the description.

6- Quality of the narrator’s sound: It was really good. At some points, I felt that his voice was a bit lower than the nat sound around him, which made me have little trouble understanding what he was saying. But other than that, the quality was awesome.

7- As for the length of the documentary, I think it was about the right length. Wasn’t too long, nor was it too short. I believe so because as the piece was on, it didn’t lose or miss me at any point; I was following what was being told. By the time it was over, I felt like yes that was the right time to cut it off, cause had it gone longer than that, I would have probably gone off searching for some other piece.

8- Other observations or suggestions:
I think it was nice ending the piece with Hernandez reaching his home and still describing it while going up the stair till he gets in and say “we’ll stop here till another tour”. Then music is on for about three quarters a minute, letting the listeners reflect on what they have just listened to. I liked that.
Also, I liked the smooth transition among the different places Hernandez was calling on. Though they might seem irrelevant, but somehow, he’d insert a story that will make you connect with the place and after doing so, he’d take you to another one with a different sound, different story.
There was one particular aspect that I liked about the website Third Coast Festival, and that it provides a link to the “Behind the scenes” where I can know what difficulties faced the production of the piece. It was interesting checking this out.

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