Puentes is a season of concerts centered around Latinx culture, stories, and community. Our first season of Puentes, in 2017-18, was composed of five concerts, each connected to a community singing event:
Latin America, a Miracle of Faith
This concert featured Chilean trio Ina Yukka and Mexican tenor Alejandro Magallón and featured sacred music of all periods from Latin America to tell poignant stories of colonization, revolution, and the history of faith in the region. This is an excerpt of Misa Criolla by Argentinian composer Ariel Ramírez:
Song for the Dead and the Living
An exploration of the more somber, spiritual side of Día de Muertos, featuring music from the Canto Cardenche tradition of northern Mexico, music written for All Saints Day in the cathedrals of Colonial Latin America and works by Brahms, Bach, and Villa-lobos. Yo ya me voy a morir a los desiertos, a song from the Cardenche tradition adapted for our sopranos and altos by our artistic director:
A bilingual (Spanish-English) version of the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah, paired with choruses that were composed in the cathedrals of Mexico during Handel’s lifetime for the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe. This concert was presented in collaboration with singers of the Minnesota Chorale.
In collaboration with son ensemble ¡Ándale Juana! we retold the story of the San Patricio Batallion, a group of Irish soldiers that deserted the American army and fought for the Mexican side during the Mexican-American War. The music included sones to tell the story, works from this period, and different works that helped bring alive the story on an emotional level. The program featured incredibly beautiful works by Pärt, Stanford, and Barber, as well as silly numbers such as this moment where we and our audience, joined ¡Ándale Juana! and traditional Irish flute specialist Norah Rendell in a lively version of the Mexican son La Iguana:
Every song on this program has a story behind it. Knowing the stories and context of this music changes drastically how they are perceived and what they mean to each listener. We explored these stories in detail, following musical and poetic connections in a thread that starts in colonial Latin America and leads into the present day. The following is Alfonsina y el Mar, a poem that sounds like a lullaby but is actually about a poet’s tragic suicide: