Review: Jordi Savall Routes of Slavery

SEATTLE SYMPHONY
Exclusives: Jordi Savall Routes of Slavery

Tuesday, November 6 at 7:30pm
Benaroya Hall

Presented by the Seattle Symphony and Early Music Seattle

Beloved early music interpreter Jordi Savall and artists representing Europe, Africa, and the Americas explore the music through which enslaved peoples forged a sense of community, preserved their own humanity, and found a way to endure in the face of unspeakable bondage. Savall and his collaborators honor their journeys through the incredible music legacy they left in this special presentation.

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Review

Earlier this week my wife Luz Marina and I attended this profoundly moving presentation by one of my favorite concert and recording artists, Jordi Savall, one of the great masters of the Early Music movement.

The program incorporated music from throughout the 444-year history of the African slave trade, and provided the entranced audience a view into the great contributions to musical art and dance that the noble and grievously oppressed peoples native to the African and American continents made in the midst of their enforced suffering.

Savall gathered his own ensembles, Hespèrion XXI and La Capella Reial de Catalunya, along with musicians from Mali, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Guadeloupe, and the United States. Some of these were existing groups who perform their own specialized styles from the various cultures. Many of the performances demonstrated the way that slaves or their descendents took and transformed the European musical styles of those times, while others were authentic to their countries of origin.

Effectively interspersed with these incredibly diverse musical selections were narrations of historical passages that were recorded during that period, most powerfully and movingly delivered by Stephen Michael Newby, a composer, gospel/jazz vocalist, pianist, and professor of music at Seattle Pacific University.

My wife and I chose our seats in the second row, which permitted us to see the facial expressions of the performers from up close, and from my standpoint as a violist accustomed to performing on the Benaroya Hall stage as a Seattle Symphony member, it felt nearer to my musical life of being seated in the midst of the music.

We are deeply impressed by this initiative of Savall in putting together this collaboration on such an important topic in the collective life of humanity, and we wish them the greatest success in this musical, cultural, and educational endeavor.

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