Machetero features several songs from the album Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION. The Liberation Day album was a concept album centered on the liberation struggle of Puerto Rico. While writing the script I listened to Liberation Day and found the songs influencing the narrative and the way in which the film could be structured.
Arturo and Joseph Rodriguez are the drummer and bass player are the song writers (along with singer Not4Prophet) for RICANSTRUCTION. When we were doing the final mix for MACHETERO Arturo and Joseph came by to talk about the how the songs for Liberation Day came together. In this segment they talk about the song Pedro's Grave...
Pedro's Grave begins with a sample from a speech by Puerto Rican independence leader Don Pedro Albizu Campos. Albizu spent some 20 years in US prisons for tirelessly advocating for the independence of Puerto Rico by any and all means necessary. Pedro's Grave is a kind of poetic history lesson that names various Puerto Rican revolutionaries like Hiram Rosado and Elias Beauchamp who assassinated a police chief in Puerto Rico, Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo who attempted an assassination on President Truman. It also of course mentions Pedro Albizu Campos and the famous Puerto Rican heroine Lolita Lebron who along with three others shot up the US House of Congress in 1954. The song also mentions towns in which their where important uprisings against US colonialism in Puerto Rico. Towns such as Ponce where a group of protesters were massacred and Jayuya and Utado where in 1950 there were violent uprisings against US colonial rule. Another town named is Lares where there was a violent uprising against Spanish colonial rule in 1868.
Using Pedro's Grave in MACHETERO allowed me to impart part of that history in a compact and efficient way. The visuals could stay within the context of the film and continue to tell the story as the song with the lyrics placed across the screen gave a historical context to the visuals. Using the lyrics to be subtitled onto the screen allowed people to get an idea that their was a historical context for the violence that follows in the visuals. The various individual elements of the song, the lyrics and the visuals made a more cohesive whole that allowed more information to be passed onto the viewer than any one of those elements separately.