The guitar that has sparked renewed interest in the town of Paracho. The guitar that has sparked renewed interest in the town of Paracho.

Film triggers boom for Michoacán guitars

Designer of the instrument used in Coco hails from Paracho, famous for its guitar makers

A popular animated film whose concept is based on the Day of the Dead has been good for a small Michoacán town dedicated to making guitars and other stringed instruments.

A now iconic guitar appears in the Disney-Pixar film Coco and has created renewed interest in Paracho de Verduzco, long renowned for a guitar-making tradition that dates back to the 18th century.

The interest has been sparked by the fact that an artisan who trained there designed the white Coco guitar.

Germán Vázquez, 65, left for the United States in the 1970s, but took with him his knowledge of and love for the craft.

Today, the film’s popularity in Mexico and around the world has put Paracho in the center of a guitar-buying frenzy.

“It’s impressive, everyone’s gone loco for Coco,” shopkeeper Claudia Rodríguez de Velásquez told National Public Radio. “We have a long list of back orders,” she added, explaining that ever since Coco debuted late last year she can’t keep the famous white guitars on her shelves.

The family’s factory is working round the clock, churning out 1,500 guitars a week, she said. Before Coco, she explained, 90% of their guitars were the usual tan colors, but now white instruments dominate the orders.

All sorts of stringed instruments are manufactured in the Paracho, and their makers are also receiving renewed attention.

César Iván Lemus is a third-generation artisan who specializes in manufacturing guitarrones, a very large, deep-bodied six-string acoustic bass favored by mariachi bands.

He said he’s filling orders as fast as he can, selling mainly to mariachi schools and stores in Texas and California.

“We are so proud that Pixar turned to a Mexican artisan to design Coco‘s guitar,” he said. “And not just any Mexican, but a former Paracho resident,” he added beaming.

The town is gearing up to celebrate Germán Vázquez, one of its most prominent guitar makers in recent times, this weekend. In preparation, residents decorated several streets to look like Santa Cecilia, the fictional village in the film, and covered a large bronze guitar statue at the town’s entrance in white.


Coco was a box office hit around the world, raking in more than US $700 million. The film got an early release in Mexico, conciding with Day of the Dead festivities, and became the highest-grossing movie of all time here.

At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, Coco won Best Animated Feature Film and was nominated for Best Original Song. The film was nominated in both categories by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its upcoming Academy Awards ceremony, which will take place on March 4.

Source: NPR (en)

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