Early music specialist Jordi Savall brings a program called The Routes of Slavery to Cal Performances tomorrow night, showcasing music that hasn’t been widely heard, without the megaphone of either the Church or a royal court. It brings together two dozen musicians from four continents and ten countries, all with works that were written and played while the composers were under colonial oppression.
There’s more information about the program at the Cal Performances website.
It begins with a passage from Aristotle: “Humanity is divided in two: Masters and Slaves,” and ends with a quotation by Martin Luther King, Jr. In between, the music represents 400 years of captivity. “It’s coming together after many years working on colonial music,” Savall says. “Many concerts and recordings with the music from Mexico, from Colombia, from the colonial times… After seeing how many influences from the African traditions was in this music, I start to think about why not represent, because we present always the music that was made in the church, or the music that was made in the court. There’s always the music from the power, but not the music for the people.” This program attempts to correct that, with a throughline of hope and happiness, despite being enslaved. “There’s nothing to do with a Griot song from Mali with the slave songs from the States, and nothing to do with the Brazilian slave songs and the Mexican tradition, but this program presents all this diversity. The common point of all this is the music explain the emotions of these people, the hope in some way, one day to freedom… The music expressed mostly the hope. The hope to have some time a normal life. All this music inspired the people to be one day free.”