Coro de Camara/Courtesy photo
BY ANNE MARSH
After a year of virtual concerts, the popular choral ensemble Coro de Cámara returns to live performance with “Spanish Fusion,” a tribute to the music of Spain and Latin America. Two outdoor performances will be offered:
Saturday, October 16, 3:00 pm, White Rock United Methodist Church (580 Meadow Lane)
Sunday, October 17, 3:00 pm, Fuller Lodge Plaza (2132 Central Avenue)
Coro de Cámara’s Artistic Director, Nylea Butler-Moore says, “To celebrate being able to perform in person, we wanted uplifting, moving, beautiful music, which these pieces are. While the songs in our virtual spring concert came from the northern European Renaissance, this program moves to the western hemisphere and to contemporary times, and honors our neighbors to the south.”
All songs are sung in Spanish, except the opening piece in Latin, “Salmo 150” by Ernani Aguilar, one of Brazil’s best-known contemporary composers. Since Psalm 150 sings of praising with instruments and dance, Aguilar’s highly rhythmic interpretation is an exciting way to start the concert. Also from Brazil is an energetic piano solo played by Yelena Mealy, “Tico-Tico no fubá (Sparrow in the Cornmeal),” by Zequinha de Abreu.
From Colombia comes “Bullerengue,” a dance piece with complex polyrhythmic patterns. “El Vito” is a fiery song from Andalusia arranged for five-part women’s voices and flamenco handclaps. In contrast to these rhythmic pieces, two songs from Uruguay/Argentina (“Te Quiero”) and Chile (“Tu sangre en la mía,” with text by poet Pablo Neruda) paint lovely word pictures. Butler-Moore says, “Once you hear these melodies, you’ll go away humming them!”
The concert includes two familiar works, “Guantanamera” and “La Bamba,” with guest guitarist Larry Rybarcyk and percussionist Joe Cox. Butler-Moore notes, “Audience members may not realize that the words to “Guantanamera” were written by Cuban national hero José Martí. Indeed, many of our concert songs are grounded in struggles for liberation.”
She continues, “Our version of ‘La Bamba’ is based on the arrangement by Ritchie Valens (Richard Valenzuela), who blended his rock guitar with a Mexican folksong from Veracruz. Traditionally, bride and groom dance to this song at their wedding. Concertgoers may feel like dancing, too!”
“An outdoor concert is the safest way for us share the beauty of choral music,” says Butler-Moore. She notes that Coro de Cámara has been rehearsing outdoors, and all singers are vaccinated and masked. Their special masks have enough space not to impede the sound quality. “If you closed your eyes, you’d never know the singers were wearing masks.”
For the safety of all, masks are required for audience members and vaccinations are encouraged. Check the Coro website (corodecamara-nm.org) for any weather-related changes.
Donations will be gratefully received at the concerts. Suggested donation for adults is $20, students and youth free.
This program is funded in part by grants from New Mexico Arts and Los Alamos MainStreet. In Nylea Butler-Moore’s words, “If you like rhythm, syncopation, and beautiful choral singing, you’ll love this concert.” Join us!