Latin American baroque music?

I was wondering if any of you have discovered the liturgical and para-liturgical gems that came out of Latin America in the 17th and 18th century. A friend of mine introduced me to the Ensemble Elyma (, and I was BLOWN AWAY. :eek:

I ordered a CD of theirs that has a bunch of Marian motets on it. I wonder if I’ll have the chance to introduce some of this music at Mass or Vespers… maybe some of you can.

Oh, totally!!! I love that music. I heard it on a program from our local radio station a few years back. They spent the hour playing the music from that period, plus had bits of history behind it. There is a rich history of baroque music from Latin America and I’m very happy that it is getting a resurgence. Incredibly beautiful compositions!!!


Yes. Actually, at Ave Maria University, one of the things our department would like to do is spark some sort of rennisance of Latin American Baroque music. It is actually very beautiful music.

The music has a lot of history, and goes deep into the roots of Latin Americans. My dad’s side of the family is from Mexico, and they were very Catholic, living in one of the most Catholic areas of the world-- Los Altos in Jalisco. Much of the history of Mexico, prior to the secularists running the government (before appx. 1900) involves struggles between the Spanish conquistadors and the clergy over the native indians being enslaved. One of the arguments the Church used against the Spanish (who believed the native indians to be sub-human and therefore, legally enslaved) that the native Indians were human had to do with their ability to compose and sing beautiful music. Hence, some of this Latin American Baroque music comes right from their hearts.

I have several CDs of Latin American baroque music. Their motets rival anything that was being written in Europe.

There is a group called the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE). Their first CD came out several years ago. A manuscript was discovered in Mexico which described Aztect music notations which were then added to an admirable motet. Although this selection is Renaissance, it will give you an idea of what might follow.

You can watch it here:

NPR did a piece on SAVAE about the same time the album came out. I caught it as I was driving in to choir rehersal on Sunday morning. I pulled into the parking lot of the cathedral and sat in my truck listening to this fascinating music. There were four other choir members out in their vehicles. We were so overwhelmed by the music that SAVAE was invited to sing in our Cathedral Concert series. It was an awesome concert.

good stuff

That is one thing I love about the traditional Latin liturgy. Instead of imposing a banal sameness all over the world, it brings out the best in artistry, whether in music, art or architecture, of various peoples all over the world. And what’s more, this artistry is unique to various cultures, so the artistry of the Germans is different than that of the Latin American countries, yet both are beautiful. Thanks for the link.

Yes indeed. So true. And may I also direct your attention to one Jordi Savall and his period instrument group Hesperion.

I fell in love with period music played on period instruments when I watched the BBC production of “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”. The music was performed by David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London. I’ve not looked back. I actually got to hear the EMCL in concert back in the 70s

I haven’t gotten SAVAEs Ancient Echos cd yet but I’ve heard cuts. Anyone who can’t hear the connection between ancient Jewish chant and Christian chant (Eastern and Latin) is not listening. Wow. We have almost two thousand years of musical heritage to explore. Vibrant music. Articulate music. Approachable music. But some of us are more interested in liturgical music that one can easily envision Kermit and Miss Piggy singing. We have a heritage.

Check this out - Cuban baroque. I have two CDs from the Exaudi Choir of Cuba

We have this in our collective heritage yet we appear to content ourselves with Muppet Music.

Great, thanks for the links, I appreciate it.

Yeah, I hear you. Now I’m afraid I won’t ever be able to shake the image/sounds of Kermit the Frog singing “Be Not Afraid” :whacky:

Thanks for the link to the Cuban ensemble!

I’ve sung in a cathedral choir for too many years. We have a rule of thumb. If you can imagine Kermit and Miss Piggy singing it as Muppets, it’s Muppet Music. Think about it - in light of our heritage. It’s a simple device and in my opinion worthy.

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