He has significantly extended the reach of this research through collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute. He is lead producer of a Smithsonian Folkways recording of huapango arribeño featuring Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra da Xichúincluded in the world-renowned Tradiciones music series, which was released in Fall 2016. This first-ever recording of its kind by an esteemed cultural institution of this caliber highlights huapango arribeño at its finest and makes anthropological knowledge of this music-culture accessible to a global audience. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum of the United States, and is dedicated to supporting increased awareness of peoples from around the world through the documentation and dissemination of sound recordings.
As a Cultural Anthropologist trained in Linguistic Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, and Folklore, Chávez is committed to an integrative Anthropology that applies the tools of these sub-disciplinary fields to the realm of Latino Studies. His research explores Latino expressive culture in everyday life as manifested through language, expressive culture, and sound. The primary questions that inform his work are: How do expressive negotiations participate in place-making and community-binding across both the material and cultural divides represented by the U.S.-Mexico border? How do Latino communities leverage these forms of expression—as aesthetic and communicative resources—to comment upon and negotiate the social structures they emerge out of? His work also bridges scholarship and creative expression as a means to explore how performance intersects with larger social concerns surrounding mobility, racialized personhood, and the intimacies that bind everyday life across physical and cultural borders. In this regard, he has consistently crossed the boundary between performer and ethnographer in both Mexico and the United States. As a student and practitioner of various Mexican folk musics for nearly two decades, he has engaged in music-making alongside his interlocuters, transforming his own experiences into a unique perspective on the body politics of performance that has shaped his understanding of how people cross various types of borders.