Review: Dallas Symphony program exploring connections between African and Latin American music

Posted on: June 10, 2022

“In 1570, Yanga, an enslaved African and rumored royal descendant, led a slave revolt and formed a colony with followers in the mountains near Veracruz, Mexico,” writes Tim Diovanni in Wednesday’s (6/8) Dallas Morning News. “This little-known story is the subject of an exhibit … now on display at the African American Museum of Dallas. Complementing the exhibit, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra presented a concert Tuesday night … that explored connections between African and Latin American music. Featured guest artists were the Mexican-based Tambuco Percussion Ensemble…. Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz’s Yanga, for choir, percussion quartet and orchestra, … pays tribute to the eponym’s revolutionary spirit. It also weaves in a chant from the Congo. In a spoken introduction, Ortiz called the work ‘a periphrasis’ of a future opera…. The [17-minute work] features energetic Latin rhythms, with prominent brass and percussion…. The chorus often interlocks rhythmically with the percussion and orchestra, but also shares reflective passages…. Led by assistant conductor Maurice Cohn, … the DSO provided crisp rhythms and vibrant orchestral colors.” Also on the program were Tambuco member Alfredo Bringas’s percussion arrangement of Barranco, featuring traditional Afro-Peruvian music, Ginastera’s Estancia, Duke Ellington’s Solitude, and Silvestre Revueltas’s Sensemayá.