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The Bishop's Band: Codex

Americas Society

December 29, 2014


(Image: Roey Yohai)

In collaboration with:

Admission: All complimentary AS Member tickets have now been reserved. Tickets may still be purchased on the festival website. $60 center front, $40 center rear, $25 sides. Student tickets are $10 reduced from the non-member price. An additional processing fee will be charged when purchasing online.

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Music of the Americas presents an encore performance of The Bishop's Band's program dedicated to late eighteenth-century music from the Codex Trujillo del Perú at Trinity Church for this year's Twelfth Night Festival.

From Bishop's Band: Codex at the Hispanic Society of America, 2013.

About the program

Americas Society and GEMS present an encore performance of a program dedicated to Martínez Compañón’s book, music of late eighteenth-century Peru from the Codex Trujillo del Perú, performed by the Bishop's Band. Directed by multi-instrumentalist and early music specialist Tom Zajac, the Band will perform a selection of the songs and dances in the collection, featuring soprano Nell Snaidas along with an all-star cast of singers, instrumentalists, and dancers.

The collection is best described as an early ethnomusicological gathering of local songs and dances. Certainly, one could imagine, if the bishop was on his visita in the early twentieth century, he would likely have had a cylinder or disk recorder with him to document the music, just as Bela Bartok did in his explorations of the Balkans, or John and Alan Lomax did on their journeys in the southern United States. This concert offers an incredibly rare opportunity to hear, frozen in the amber of the 1780s, a moment in the development of a regional music, as it makes its way from the raw ingredients of European, African, and indigenous styles, to the true melding or creolization that is now thought of as Andean or Peruvian music.

The program also contains three sets of Bolivian music; the first, sacred villancicos from the Cathedral of La Plata, in what is now the modern city of Sucre; a set of three charming songs in the Canichanas Indian language from the Bolivian rain forest; and a diverse selection of instrumental and vocal pieces of a more popular nature from a collection called the Moxos archives from another Jesuit mission further to the north from the Canichanas region. The melodies are memorable, the harmonies are catchy, and the rhythms are lively and syncopated, announcing present-day Latin American popular music.

Learn more about the first concert in 2013 and read the printed program (PDF).

This concert is part of GEMAS, a project of Americas Society and Gotham Early Music Scene devoted to early music of the Americas with Nell Snaidas and Sebastián Zubieta as co-artistic directors.