How Do You Make an Old Song Sound New?

Saving Songs and Musical Traditions

In collaboration with Original Music Workshop


Share your interpretation of a classic. Upload your music and thoughts below.

What is a “classic”? For some it is Bach, for others, the Beatles. Get started by asking yourself, “What songs or pieces am I passionate about?” “How can I use my musical artistry to carry on these great traditions?”

  • Connect with Magos Herrera and Celso Duarte, two multi-talented musicians who save songs through their own dynamic artistry—from Latin folk to explosive jazz arrangements.
  • Magos and Celso will share their collaborative process with the Musical Exchange community as they prepare for their upcoming live performance in New York City—their first-ever collaboration with each other.



This project is produced in collaboration with Original Music Workshop, a new Brooklyn venue that will offer programmatic support to a wide range of composers and musicians, and to emerging talents in particular, fostering their artistic progress and nurturing their musical discoveries.


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Comment by Magos Herrera on December 7, 2012 at 1:07pm

Thank you all for beign part of this project, shortly we will be sharing our version of "La llorona", it has been a lovely journey, hope to see you around shortly, meanwhile my best wishes for you all, keep the music ringing in your hearts...

Comment by Magos Herrera on November 26, 2012 at 1:56pm

Performing "La llorona"  with Celso Duarte @Original Music Workshop Virtual Season, at the Greene Space, NYC in partnership with Carnegie Hall's Musical Exchange Program

Comment by Magos Herrera on November 14, 2012 at 9:45am

Hello everyone, thank you for sharing your versions!I have received a couple of questions through my facebook from some of you about the process of saving a song and heres my reply: As i mentioned before, saving a song in a traditional way or with a new light is bought ways great! In the process of saving "La llorona" ,as I mentioned before, we wanted to evoke the strong influence from the east that latinamerican music has as a result of diasporas and invations through history. So we worked using scales that belong to the sepharadic and andalusian world and tried to mix it with the traditional movement of Im-IVm-V7 of "la llorona" and works great ....shortly we will be sharing our final result. What im trying to say is that there are so many ways to reinvent a song,reharmonizing, from bolero to bossa, from balad to even 8ths, etc, so dont be afraid to try and see, sometimes the experiment would be positive and sometimes better stick with simplicity and it could be lovely aswell.Look forward to hear more of your versions!

Comment by Magos Herrera on November 14, 2012 at 9:24am

Jesus Ignacio, let me refresh everyone with the version you shared before so everyone can see your starting point.I find it specially beatiful that this song arrived to you in your grandmothers voice a perfect sample of "saving tradition"!
thanks for sharing it..

Comment by Jesus Ignacio Moreno Orozco on November 13, 2012 at 11:43pm

This is my version from Gonzalo Curiel's Noche de Luna. It was a challenge for me to do something like this for the first time, because I tried to gave a personal meaning of my grandmas's version.

Comment by Magos Herrera on November 11, 2012 at 11:09am

heres a version of Amandas "Solamente una vez" saved song, in a traditional bolero form with trio los panchos.

Comment by Magos Herrera on November 11, 2012 at 11:06am

Dear Amanda, thanks for sharing your version of "Solamente una vez", the piano comping is very nice, really take us into a new direction away from the original bolero style, could you share your thoughts while you where working it out?

what was your idea, wich direction you wanted to take, etc?

Comment by Luisa Amanda Tovalin on November 10, 2012 at 2:38am

Here is my version of "Solamente una vez" by Agustin Lara. Is just a rehearsal but this is kind of how I pictured along with my partner Leon Coldman would be a way to show our style into a classic song from Mexico's golden music: Solamente una vez 

Comment by Magos Herrera on November 10, 2012 at 12:54am

Thanks for sharing Kimberly, any plan on making your own version?would love to hear it!

Comment by Kimberly Fergie on November 9, 2012 at 11:08pm

Hi everybody! I'm from Mexico... and my favorite mexican song is "La Sandunga", is a traditional mexican song from Itsmo de Tehuantepec, Oaxaca.

when i was a child I heard it from my grandfather. I found this version from Chabela Vargas 

Enjoy! :D

Comment by Magos Herrera on November 7, 2012 at 2:32pm

Thanks Kuki, cant wait to hear your Angelitos negros version!

Comment by kuki ravindran on November 7, 2012 at 2:30pm

Beautiful songs and renditions, enjoyed that so much Magos... :) thank you. Can't wait to hear your and Celso's take.

Comment by Magos Herrera on November 7, 2012 at 11:54am

To start getting familiar with the song, heres Chavela Vargas version of "La llorona"...

Comment by Celso Duarte on November 7, 2012 at 10:53am

We had our first rehearsal in México City two days ago, and we had a great time together taking and sharing ideas. It's wonderful recreating old and traditional music, in this particular song it's more difficult because there are so many versions, but we are making a great balance between the texture of the voice and the harp. We are so close to getting our "Llorona."

Comment by Magos Herrera on November 5, 2012 at 10:30am

Hello everyone, as we look forward to hearing from you about your "saving song" version of your favorites, Celso and I keep working in saving "La llorona".

While saving a song, I like to think about the story behind it, and this will take me, for sure, into new directions and ideas to develop.

The legend says that "La llorona," the Weeping Woman, is the ghostly woman who wanders along canals and rivers crying for her missing children. This is a vals (son istmeño from Oaxaca, Mexico) that evokes its Spanish origin in its harmonic and melodic structure. We wanted to find an introduction for our version that emphasize the eastern influence that Mexican music has as the result of the course of history, so we found an Andalo-Sefaradic song called "Hijo mio" (My son), which is a call of a mother asking her son to beware of the waters so he is not taken by the sea.

So we are working on putting together these two ideas to tell our story. Tell us what's your story? Your musical upbringing, your family legacy, your favorite traditions, or maybe a memorable folk story/tune from your childhood.

Comment by Jonathon Hampton on October 31, 2012 at 12:18pm

@Tanya: Fantastic singing! You and Andres work well together. You should invite him to the community and this conversation.

@Everyone: Don't forget you can embed your videos right here on the comment wall. Here's how: Help Topics: Embed Your Video Around the Site

Comment by Magos Herrera on October 28, 2012 at 6:29pm

 thanks Kuki, my mistake, ! I love pedro Infantes version from the movie Angelitos negros, "Black angels". I think you should definitely try it in bossa nova, of course, if you try that, would be cool to work around the harmony into that direction aswell as your singing phrasing approach . In that sense I recommend checking  joao gilbertos work , check out the killing vocal freedom in his rythmyc phrasing as the guitar comps and swing effortlesly...

Comment by kuki ravindran on October 28, 2012 at 4:57pm

Just re-posting the Toña La Negra link, as the other one was Pedro Infante's .


Comment by kuki ravindran on October 28, 2012 at 4:55pm

Magos, I would love to try a bossanova version of the song, with just a guitar and some light percussion. Yet to try it, do you think it might work ? Given the meaning of the lyrics, do you think it would lighten the tone too much ? And yes, I would definitely sing it in Spanish.

Comment by Magos Herrera on October 28, 2012 at 10:38am

Im thrilled to see you here  Kuki , as we shared  before so everybody get an idea of this song,  Angelitos negros is a poem by Eloy Blanco , here's a version by the great Toña la Negra who was one of the most representative singers from the 40s in Mexico, most of Agustin laras repertoir was sang by her:

So Kuki,  what kind of arrangement would you do to make it yours?would you sing it in spanish, any reference of how would you approach it?...


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