music by James Rolfe; Alfonso X, the Wise; Guillaume de Machaut; Jehan de Lescurel; and Daniel Cabena; words by Luke Hathaway; Daniel Cabena; Alfonso X, the Wise; Guillaume de Machaut; Jehan de Lescurel; and anonymous others; performances by Daniel Cabena, Paul Genyk-Berezowsky, and Luke Hathaway
We’re delighted to have premiered, on Feb. 1st and 2nd, a new program devised in collaboration with our dear friend Paul Genyk-Berezowsky (www.paulgenykberezowsky.com), and inspired by the Cantigas of Santa Maria — a great corpus of 13th century songs celebrating the sacred feminine.
With new and old words and music, this program seeks to disrupt and reclaim in equal measures. Our intergenerational community of practice includes the 13th and 14th c. sensibilities of Guillaume de Machaut; Jehan de Lescurel; and Alfonso X, the Wise — and the beautiful contemporary contribution of James Rolfe (www.jamesrolfe.ca), and the premier of his piece ‘Aubade’.
This program of music is inspired by the Songs of Holy Mary of Alfonso X, The Wise — a great corpus of 13th century songs celebrating the sacred feminine. These songs — these cantigas, for they were written in Galician Portuguese — are full of things we seek, in our performance, to disrupt: the evils of that time and place, which are also too often the evils of our own — societal sexism and racism, an investment in military conquest…. At the same time, the cantigas are full of things that we seek, in our performance, to reclaim. They are full of homely miracles and liberatory moments: a man is restored to health because of his promise to make a gift of wax; a woman gives birth to a baby under the sea…. These songs are animated by an attention to the intimate particulars of daily living; they celebrate a living vernacular as meet language for sacred praise; and they hold space, amid a patriarchal culture, for the sacred feminine as a locus of disruptive rejuvenation.