Alma de España

It is time to dismantle the barricades that have stood in the way of a deeper understanding of this important body of music.
— Graham Johnson

The music of Spanish-speaking regions has long been underperformed, partially due to a misrepresentation by inaccurate stereotypes of Spanish and Latin cultures, but also due to an inside reluctance to share this body of music with the world. Within its rich palette of sound, Spanish music is full of complexities and different styles; each province has a special musical flavor unique to its geography. Music of South America displays a wide variety of influences, reflecting its colonial history and the musical traditions of its immigrants, especially from Portugal and Spain. Many more sources of inspiration exist, however, including native and folk elements of South America, classical European traditions, African musical treasures brought over from more than 150 years of slave trading, and even American jazz by the early twentieth century.

With such a rich history of global influences, what has prevented this massive body of repertoire from entering the musical mainstream across the world? For one, printing presses in Spain have operated on highly inefficient levels, publishing music at inconsistent paces and often allowing works to go out of print. It has also been noted that a historically isolationist mentality among Spanish musical and literary scholars has prevented the global dissemination of their research and music, adding a self-inflicted wound to the list of reasons for their art being less commonly known to curious outsiders. In short, a general resistance to innovation and globalization has kept the music of Spain and Latin America in the shadows throughout the twentieth century.

Despite these historical barriers, the many facets and influences of Spanish-language song make it a treasure trove worthy of any program. Beginning in 2018, CSI will do its part to help bring this massive body of repertoire into the spotlight, embarking upon an ambitious three-season exploration of the greatest songs from Spain and Latin America.