Caption: Trash collects in the bed of the Santa Cruz, Credit: Aengus Anderson
Image by: Aengus Anderson 
Trash collects in the bed of the Santa Cruz 

The Forgotten River

From: Aengus Anderson
Length: 25:00

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Tucson, Arizona would have never existed without the Santa Cruz river. Yet Tucson’s success has transformed the Santa Cruz from an intermittent stream meandering through a lush floodplain into a dry channel imprisoned by cement walls. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Santa Cruz was Tucson’s geographic and cultural heart, but today the river is a forgotten landscape. Drained of water and stripped of vegetation, ignored the media and physically distant from most Tucsonans, the Santa Cruz is dismissed as an unfortunate casualty of Arizona’s modernization. But the river continues to be relevant--its very silence a loud reminder that civilization in the desert comes at a price and that, underneath the Arizona dream, there is a harsh environmental reality.

Santa_cruz_small Tucson, Arizona would have never existed without the Santa Cruz river. Yet Tucson’s success has transformed the Santa Cruz from an intermittent stream meandering through a lush floodplain into a dry channel imprisoned by cement walls. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Santa Cruz was Tucson’s geographic and cultural heart, but today the river is a forgotten landscape. Drained of water and stripped of vegetation, ignored the media and physically distant from most Tucsonans, the Santa Cruz is dismissed as an unfortunate casualty of Arizona’s modernization. But the river continues to be relevant--its very silence a loud reminder that civilization in the desert comes at a price and that, underneath the Arizona dream, there is a harsh environmental reality.

Piece Description

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Gypsy's Curse Calexico The Black Light. Quarterstick 1998 04:17
El General Santa Cruz Antonio Federico and Frank Moreno Heroes & Horses: Corridos From The Arizona-Sonora Borderlands. Smithsonian Folkways 2002 03:50
Where Water Flows Calexico The Black Light. Quarterstick 1998 01:56
Bellows Loscil Plume. Kranky 2006 06:26

Related Website

www.aengusanderson.com