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Acequias and the Hydraulic Genius of Shari’ah Law

You may not have heard the term “acequia,” but it describes one of oldest, most common-sense systems of irrigation on the planet. The basic idea is to use, and share, a river’s natural patterns rather than rely on the predominant American system—namely, trap it, pipe it, and race to be the first to use it. Our writer tours the globe to track down the acequia’s history, and its leading practitioners.

Story and photography by ROBERTO LOVATO

Listen to “Mezcal’s Dance with Extinction”

Now that the tequila craze has crested, the latest Latin liquor to capture the world’s alcoholic imagination is tequila’s grandfather: mezcal. But an explosion of authentic mezcal is impossible—for reasons our correspondent discovers when she goes to Oaxaca to learn how this hyper-local spirit can be sustained.

When Indigenous Women Win

In a small, Indigenous community in the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, a band of determined women led the overthrow of a criminal cartel. Their victory gave the town a new sense of purpose by reviving its traditional livelihood, its capacity for self-government, and its communal spirit.

Story and photography by ANDREW SULLIVAN

Listen to “The Hydraulic Genius of Shari’ah Law”

You’ve probably never heard the term “acequia,” but it describes one of the oldest methods of irrigation on the planet. Too bad American ranchers have largely ignored it.

Mexico’s Master Guitar Makers

When a Disney film, “Coco,” spotlighted a small Mexican town where almost every shop makes guitars, it suddenly made ornate, white guitars famous. Underneath the new pop icon, however, lies a variety of much finer instruments—and a rich craft going back generations.

Photography and videography by ANDREW SULLIVAN

Listen to “Mexico’s Master Guitar Makers”

The now iconic white guitar made famous by the Disney film “Coco” was created in Paracho, a small Mexican town where almost every shop makes guitars. Underneath the new icon lay centuries of craftsmanship.

Paracho Guitar Resources & Travel Tips

There are many ways to learn more about Paracho guitars, and to visit the town’s master luthiers. In fact, every August Paracho holds its annual guitar festival. (This year’s festival runs from August 5th-10th.) So if you want to visit this community, here are a few tips to help you enjoy a productive, and safe,…

The Evolution of the Paracho Guitar

Initially, Paracho guitars were poor relations to their Spanish cousins, largely because the town’s guitarreros used old techniques and geometry that differed greatly from the approach taken by the Europeans. Ron Fernandez, a Yale anthropologist who imports guitars from Spain, says the main difference was–and still is–in the tools. “The European way to make a…

Watch “Guillermo Rubio, Mexican Master Luthier, Build a Guitar”

Step inside a family-owned workshop in Paracho, Mexico — birthplace of the ornate, white guitar made famous by the Disney movie, “Coco,” and home to some of the world’s most accomplished luthiers. Don’t miss the full story, “Mexico’s Master Guitar Makers”, written by Laura Fraser.

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