One of the objectives of the Cayambis Institute for Latin American Studies in Music (CILASiM) is to increase the awareness and appreciation of Latin American classical music. In support of this mission, the Institute is in the process of creating a six-chapter educational DVD in which the main types of Latin American classical music will be explained and demonstrated. Designed under the supervision of educator Dr. Vimari Colón-León for middle and high school students, each chapter, approximately 18 to 20 minutes long, will fit neatly into the time allotted for most classroom sessions, and will be the perfect supplement not only for music classes, but also, because musical concepts are being described in a clear and simple fashion, this DVD will be equally appropriate for use in other disciplines, such as in the world history or social studies classroom.
The DVD will be narrated by Dr. John L. Walker, who is a recognized authority on the classical music of Latin America. Members of the Cayambis Sinfonietta, augmented by an occasional recording, will demonstrate important concepts with numerous musical excerpts. But rather than focusing on names and dates, each chapter will be organized around a particular style, as follows:
Chapter 1. Indigenism: The Musical Re-imaginations of Latin America’s Ancient Cultures. During the early 20th century, composers had begun to develop a style built around certain assumptions about the musical culture of pre-Conquest civilizations.
Chapter 2. Folkloricism: The Influence of Popular Culture on the Creation of Concert Music. During the colonial period, a number of different ethnic groups encountered one another‘s musical culture. Over time, these different traditions combined to create an identifiably Latin American musical culture.
Vicente Greco, Ojos negros (1910). Demonstrating the typical long-short-long-long rhythm of the tango.
Chapter 3. Naturalism: The Musical Representations of Latin America’s Flora, Fauna and Topography. Latin America’s composers, inspired by the distinctive natural elements that surrounded them, developed a musical style that became increasingly more descriptive over time.
Chapter 4. Historicism: The Historical Music of Europe and its Echoes in Latin America. By the early 20th century, many Latin American composers not only looked to the European music of the past, but also promoted it as the most best way to represent Latin American classical music to the rest of the world.
Chapter 5. Universalism: Hitching Your Star to the Modern Music of Europe and North America. During the mid 20th century, an increasing number of Latin American composers who were educated in the U.S. or Europe produced musical styles that were largely similar to those of the countries in which they had been educated.
Chapter 6. Syncretism: Latin America and its Musical Melting Pot. The music of many composers, and even individual compositions by the same composer, may reveal a blend of many different stylistic tendencies, and thus cannot so easily be characterized. For this reason, syncretism is perhaps the most appropriately descriptive term for much of Latin American classical music.
Upon completion, the DVD will be subjected to a “test drive” in the various school districts in which the Institute is located. Pending any minor edits or changes, soon afterward, the DVD will be made available to school districts across the nation.
At a time when support for music and the arts is diminishing across the country, it’s all the more important for students to be provided with the opportunity to enjoy and learn about an interesting and unique repertoire presented at a high level. In addition, by performing and talking about Latin American music, we are able to broaden students’ appreciation of cultures other than their own. With both of these goals in mind, can you help make this happen?
If you agree with us, please click on the link, and select “Educational DVD Fund” from the drop down menu.