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The first question I asked myself on my way to the performance was how much do I really know about music and live performances? I have always exemplified any musical performance as a communication of the rhythmic and instrumental variety of music. For my concert review, I attended the performance of Spektral Quartet and Miguel Zenon on Thursday, September 20, 2018. It was the genre of music I knew the least about and coming from Latin roots I thought it would be interesting to attend this. This was my first time attending a Jazz concert that concentrates in American folklore music.
Therefore, I did not know what kind of music to expect but also any music I was familiar to. This concert was a new experience for me. It was far different from a Banda concert held at the Garibaldi by the 26th street. The purpose of this concert was not only to give me a taste of the music but to get a sense of a rich cultural landscape, how they created the piece and how they combined the sound together. A young man came up to me with a tape recorder I believe so, I got nervous because if it was a different scenario I would have tried to avoid the interview, but I was trapped, lucky for me he did not ask any difficult question rather than how did I hear about the event and what am I looking forward to hearing.
The only light in the room came from onstage where five chairs were placed in the middle and to the left side, there was a tall table with two chairs which in my opinion it reminded me of a table outside a restaurant in downtown. There was a large attendance, and I think that much of the audience were friends in their mid-20s hanging out on a nice windy day. So, the show starts, it was interesting that there were two women and three males in the performance. Both women were playing the violin, one male also playing the violin, a male playing the cello and Miguel Zenon playing the saxophone. The first song they performed was called Promesa. The first question asked in the Q&A Miguel mentioned that he got inspired for this composition from a song during a celebration named Las Tres Marias. It came from a tradition in Puerto Rico which was not considered a tradition back then, it was an offering to the saint that inspired the people.
Now many Puerto Ricans know that a Promesa is a religious offering that is made with a petition to God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, a saint or another important character of their religion. They are also part of the traditions of Catholicism. The practice of this custom usually involves asking a saint to grant a favor in exchange for a personal sacrifice, people “pay” their promises before obtaining the grace as an act of faith that the miracle has already been granted. Zenon also mentioned how the community comes together and do not expect anything in return. They offer prayers, food, dance, or specific action to the divinity for no other purpose than to practice their devotion and faith. Now, the second question Miguel was asked about the project he was working during the recording sessions for his new album, Yo Soy La Tradicion, in collaboration with Spektral Quartet. He mentioned the difficulty of reaching out to his family and friends in Puerto Rico, which had been devastated by Hurricane Maria and him being a representative for Puerto Rico he recorded the new album to help aid the ones in need.
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