January 6, 2018 / 2:29 AM / 5 months ago

Pixar's 'Coco' strikes a chord in Mexico guitar town

PARACHO, Mexico (Reuters) - Pixar’s hit film “Coco” has struck all the right notes in the tiny Mexican hamlet of Paracho, home to the traditional Mexican guitar made famous in the movie.

(L-R) Director Lee Unkrich, Anthony Gonzalez, who plays the voice of Miguel, co-director/screenwriter Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson attends Disney-Pixar's U.S. premiere of "Coco" in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 8, 2017. REUTERS/David McNew

Nestled in the western central highlands of the Sierra Madre, Paracho is seeing a boom in guitar sales following the worldwide success of “Coco.”

The film follows a boy who accidentally finds himself in the land of the dead during the Mexican celebrations for the Dia de los Muertos. Central to the plot is the boy’s trusty Paracho-style guitar.

The 16th century-style guitars have been a way of life in the town of 30,000 for centuries. According to legend, a priest with the original Spanish conquerors decided locals in the village should be taught a craft to support their economy.

Paracho soon gained fame as Mexico’s capital for the manufacture of stringed instruments, and “Coco” has now brought its craftsmen global fame and booming sales, artisans said.

The film, released by Walt Disney Co’s Pixar, has grossed more than $550 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. It ranks as the highest grossing movie in Mexico ever.

Costs for the hand-made guitars range from around 2,000 Mexican pesos ($104 dollars) to those made with fine wood that fetch up to 20,000 pesos ($1,042 dollars).

Due to popular request, local artisans have given the traditionally black guitar a Day-Of-The-Dead twist by painting the instrument white and adding a cartoon of the traditional Mexican skull on its front.

Editing by Leslie Adler

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