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  • EL NUEVO MUNDO. Folías Criollas
  • EL NUEVO MUNDO. Folías Criollas
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EL NUEVO MUNDO. Folías Criollas
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Reference: AVSA9876

  • Montserrat Figueras
  • TEMBEMBE ENSAMBLE CONTINUO
  • LA CAPELLA REIAL DE CATALUNYA
  • HESPÈRION XXI
  • Jordi Savall

Like the Chacona, described as an “American mulatto” by Miguel de Cervantes (La Ilustre Fregona), the great majority of musical forms which evolved after the “discovery” and the conquest of the New World retain that extraordinary mixture of Hispanic and Creole elements influenced by indigenous and African traditions. Following on from our earlier project Villancicos y Danzas Criollas; De la Iberia antigua al Nuevo Mundo, this new selection of “Sones y Folías Criollas” for singing and dancing has been recorded in conjunction with Montserrat Figueras and the instrumentalists and vocalists of La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hespèrion XXI, as well as a number of guest musicians from Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico, including Tembembe Ensamble Continuo.

Description

“Canta como una calandria, danza como el pensamiento, baila como una perdida”
“She sings like a lark, dances like thought, and capers like a wild thing.”
Miguel de Cervantes; Don Quixote (Part 2, Ch. XLVIII)
“To the good life, the good life,
This old lady is the Chacona.
From the Indies to Seville
She has come by packet boat.”

Lope de Vega, El amante agradecido (The grateful lover) (Act II)

Like the Chacona, described as an “American mulatto” by Miguel de Cervantes (La Ilustre Fregona), the great majority of musical forms which evolved after the “discovery” and the conquest of the New World retain that extraordinary mixture of Hispanic and Creole elements influenced by indigenous and African traditions. Following on from our earlier project Villancicos y Danzas Criollas; De la Iberia antigua al Nuevo Mundo, this new selection of “Sones y Folías Criollas” for singing and dancing has been recorded in conjunction with Montserrat Figueras and the instrumentalists and vocalists of La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hespèrion XXI, as well as a number of guest musicians from Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico, including Tembembe Ensamble Continuo.

We discovered the existence of Tembembe Ensamble Continuo at the end of 2007, during our preparation and discussions about the choice of music for the film El Baile de San Juan with the director Francisco Athié. We were impressed by their performance, and when a few months later we received an invitation to appear at the Festival Cervantino as part of a joint project between Catalonia and Mexico, we proposed working together on a programme of sones and dances from The Route of the New World. We presented the project in Guanajuato (18 October, 2008), Barcelona (7 January 2009) and Fontfroide (1 August 2009), where we finally recorded most of the tracks on this album, which was completed at the Collegiate Church of Cardona in January, 2010.

As we listen to these Sones and Creole folias, old songs with new words performed in a wide variety of rhythms and melodies on early and popular instruments, our feelings and emotions are akin to those experienced when travelling for the first time to an historic city of a Latin American country: we have the overwhelming sense that we are travelling back in time whilst still living in the present. Strolling along the streets of a small town a hundred kilometres or so from Bogota (in the autumn of 1970), we were amazed to come across a place and a society which perfectly preserved the atmosphere of an early 16th-centuryAndalusian town.

Let us not forget, as Antonio García de León Griego points out in his profound study “The Sea of Encounters”, that a complex society made up of sailors and soldiers, nobles and religious, musicians and traders, adventurers and African slaves, and all kinds of people hoping to get rich quick, made its way to the New World from Andalusia via the Canary Islands, which was to result in a great cultural and, above all, linguistic melting pot, with the adoption of indigenous elements which are particularly evident in the music and the languages used during the subsequent conquest of the whole continent. As the conquistadores advanced further into this totally unknown “New World”, they gradually incorporated into their own music the great majority of local influences that they encountered, just as they incorporated into their everyday language the original names in the indigenous languages for the objects, animals, plants, rituals and customs of the New World. The conquest of those vast territories was consolidated by means of intense exploitation and wholesale enslavement, destroying in its wake the true Paradise on earth of the islands of the Caribbean and all the ancient cultures and languages that had survived throughout the continent until the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Only half a century after the “discovery”, almost all of those languages – of Arawak, Tupi-Guarani and Chibcha origin – had disappeared from the Caribbean islands along with the peoples who spoke them. The few musical forms and languages that did survive evolved into Creole forms as a result of their contact with the language, music and traditions of the conquistadores.

The present project, whose aim is to contribute to the rediscovery and dissemination of music which has been kept alive for centuries, often in regions remote from the major towns and cities, is also a sincere homage to all the men and women, most of them anonymous, whose sensitivity and musical talent, as well as their great capacity for transmission, have contributed to that music’s survival to the present day. The Sones and Creole Folías of this New World reveal a fascinating dialogue between the music that “survived” in the Llanero and Huasteco oral traditions and in the anonymous mestisso folk repertoires, influenced by the Nahuatl, Quechua and African cultures, and the historical music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods preserved both in manuscript and printed form in Old and New Spain. It is a dialogue which will never grow stale, thanks to the improvisational and expressive talent, together with the musical discipline and imagination of all the musicians from the old and the new worlds who believe in the power of music, give it life and continue to use that music which, thanks to its beauty, emotion and spiritual dimension, constitutes one of the most essential languages known to humanity.

JORDI SAVALL
San Francisco, 17 March, 2010
Translated by Jacqueline Minett

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