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Tucson's monsoon begins with Santa Cruz Sound Experience on Dia de San Juan

The sounds of falling rain and rolling thunder will be flowing down the Santa Cruz River at the Chubasco Channel release party on June 24.

The Santa Cruz Sound Experience installation, created by artists Alex Jimenez and Logan Phillips, will include a three-hour-long compilation of monsoon sounds recorded by Tucson residents. The audio will be accompanied by video projections created by Jimenez, who has been working on the piece since summer of 2021.

"I feel like part of including the community is listening," said Jimenez, Tucson Water's artist in residence. "And I started listening to the rain. It's very meditative."

Jimenez encouraged Tucsonans to record the sounds of the 2021 rainy season in order to create a virtual experience of a monsoon storm traveling across the Arizona-Sonora desert.

"We wanted to create a soundscape that people could experience in times of drought," she told the Tucson Sentinel. "That way they can hear the sounds of water."

The one-night-only event will take place at the Santa Cruz River underneath the Cushing Street Bridge as part of a local celebration of Dia de San Juan.

"The compilation will be a mix of storm sounds as well as urban sounds," Jimenez said. "I mean, it's impossible to not have the sounds of planes and the train in the background. It's all Tucson sounds."

People attending the event will be able to enjoy an immersive experience consisting of video projections by the riverbed and rows of speakers playing tracks by Phillips, known as DJ DirtyVerbs, and from the Monsoon Mix Tape. Jimenez and Phillips commissioned six local musicians — Chezale, Cazo, KPMADMAN, Pineross, Mattea, and Karima Walker — to create original tracks using the Chubasco Channel audio incorporated into their own music.

The event will run from 7-10 p.m., with other Dia de San Juan events nearby also welcoming the traditional beginning of the monsoon.

Bianca Morales is TucsonSentinel.com’s Cultural Expression and Community Values reporter, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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Alex Jimenez

The Santa Cruz Sound Experience will be taking place on June 24, Dia de San Juan.

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