Throughout the 1600’s and 1700’s and beyond, the Spanish colonies in the New World emerged as centers of musical activity. Cathedrals demanded music to be played and sung as part of religious services and festivities, and the common people, mostly untrained musicians participated enthusiastically in music-making for worship as well as for many other mostly practical uses.
The music they created was folk music that utilized guitars, harp, percussion and singing. It was music with roots in the Spanish, African, and in the native Mayan, Aztec and Inca cultures.
These humble musicians created songs and dances unique to their region of the Americas. Some of the music is naïve and earnest, some surprisingly sophisticated, all of it is pure delight.
In ARCHIVO DE GUATEMALA, an enchanting NAXOS album of music originating in the Cathedral of Guatemala City, music by composers whose names have long languished in obscurity has been lovingly brought back to life by the enterprising ensemble El Mundo, led by Richard Salvino. Throughout a dozen tracks that feature danceable tunes by Juan García de Zéspedes, Sebastián Durón, José de Torres y Martínez Bravo, and others the EL Mundo musicians play with vibrancy and great gusto music more than three centuries old in a treasure of an album.
Rafael de Acha ALL ABOUT THE ARTS
Published by ALL ABOUT THE ARTS
Rafael de Acha has enjoyed a distinguished career in the arts as a performer, stage director, producer, and educator. He was born and grew up in Cuba. At the age of 17 he moved to the United States to study Drama at the University of Minnesota, and later Languages at L.A. City College, Music at the Juilliard School of Music, at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, and at the New England Conservatory of Music, from which he received the Master's degree. He has taught courses on the History of Music at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and at Florida International University, and contributed writings and reviews to Seen and Heard International (www.seenandheard-international.com ) and to this blog. He co-founded the award-winning New Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida, where he produced and staged twenty seasons of classical and contemporary theater, including fifty world premieres of plays that went on to have international and national productions on and off Broadway, including Ana in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz (Pulitzer Prize for Drama 2002 and Tony Nomination 2003.) In 2006 he was presented with a citation from The Dade County Cultural Affairs Council for “trailblazing contributions to the arts in South Florida.”
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