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The Sounds of the Archives: Compositions Inspired by the CENTRO Archives Collections

The Sounds of the Archives: Compositions Inspired by the CENTRO Archives Collections

Location: The Silberman School of Social Work

Cost: Free

May 30 @ 7:00 pm 8:00 pm EDT

Our Archives are an incredible source of inspiration, not just for scholarly research but also for artists of all disciplines. Recently, two composers: our Artist in Residence, Gabriel Bouche Caro and Guarionex Morales Matos, produced two contemporary compositions based on their research. Join us on May 30th for a very special musical performance and witness the rebirth of archived sounds into innovative musical arrangements.

Gabriel Bouche Caro’s piece is a new performance for solo instrument and narrator/singer. It resembles a stream-of-consciousness/musical theater monologue with the vocalist representing the complexities of the Puerto Rican identity and current situation. The performance’s narrative is constructed by taking highly specific texts from the collections of Tato Laviera, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Pura Belpre, and more and making them into a dramatic reading that brings forth conflicts within the ‘diasporican’ identity, the duality of being a nationalist living in the colonizer’s land, and the image of an artist who wishes to bring forth the intricacies and beauty of their culture to the world. This is Puerto Rican music, not as folk, but as a synthesis of sound, experience, tradition, difficulties, and successes that come from living life square-rooted in a richly complex and demanding cultural situation. 

Guarionex Morales Matos’ project, Pedro Pietri: An Aesthetic Collision Between His Poetry and Puerto Rican Art Song explores the exclusion of diasporic poets from the Puerto Rican art song genre through the work of Pedro Pietri. Pietri’s poetry constitutes the perfect compositional material for this genre, despite the euro-centrical criteria that have historically marked the latter’s development and approach towards the public. Morales Matos strives to transgress said conventionalisms to crumble the artificial barriers between art forms, as well as those that divide the popular, folk, and classical music spheres. The lyrics and music will derive from three of Pietri’s least-known texts to create a powerful triptych for mezzo-soprano, clarinet, and piano.

This event is co-sponsored by NALAC: National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures.

Event Image: Sheet music for performance of “Perez y Martina”, Pural Belpré Papers. CENTRO Library & Archives
2180 3rd Ave
New York, New York 10035