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Wednesday, Dec. 6
The Indiana Daily Student

arts jacobs school of music

Voice and piano recital to celebrate African-American and Afro-Latinidad culture


Students and faculty will perform in the Jacobs School of Music's “Black History Month: A Celebration” voice and piano recital 6 p.m. Sunday in the Simon Music Center's Auer Hall.

The event was coordinated by Marietta Simpson, a voice professor, and Javier Leon, director of Jacobs' Latin American Music Center. Simpson said this is the third year Jacobs has presented this recital, but this is the first year the LAMC has been included.Leon said the selections are classical compositions created by mainly African-American or Latin American composers.

“There are so many instances where our cultures have intersected before, so this seemed like a great opportunity to highlight that,” Simpson said.

All of the selections were inspired by poetry from Afro-Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén and African-American poet Langston Hughes, Leon said.

“This concert is going to be very interesting because it is going to use the friendship between Langston Hughes and Guillén, who is very much like a Cuban version of Langston Hughes, as a way of highlighting that larger history that goes beyond the United States,” Leon said.

African-American culture has influence in all Americas, he said..

"There has always been a dialogue between African-American artists and poets, and other scholars in the United States and people in other parts of the African Diaspora," Leon said.

One of the performers is Alejandra Martínez, an IU doctoral student studying voice, who will perform “Caminando” by Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas, as well as two songs from the song cycle "Bluz Set" by African-American composer John Duncan. 

"Midwinter", one of the songs from "Bluz Set," is about a girl whose love leaves her in the middle of winter.

"Caminando" is inspired by Guillén's poem of the same name, Martínez said.

"The poem describes someone walking through the streets," she said. "They describe how they've given everything away. They've pawned off their guitar. Life has been very hard for them."

At the end of the poem, the person takes back control of their life through violence against an oppressor. The text becomes aggressive, Martínez said.

The event is free and does not require tickets, according to the Jacobs website. The recital can be viewed online via IUMusicLive!

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