AMHERST, Mass. – On Saturday, February 3, 2018, at 7 p.m., the Amherst College Department of Music presents “La Isla de Esperanza” (The Island of Hope), an original thesis on Puerto Rican music, written and conducted by Gabriela Smith-Rosario ’18 followed at 7:45 p.m. by a composition thesis entitled "Chinese Railway" presented by Minato Sakamoto '18 in Buckley Recital Hall of the Arms Music Center at Amherst College.
The concert is free and open to the public, and seating is by general admission. Although admission is free, Smith-Rosario respectfully requests that attendees make a donation to “Unidos Por Puerto Rico” (United for Puerto Rico), a nonprofit organization providing hurricane relief to the island that will be present during the concert in the lobby of Arms Music Center.
Smith-Rosario’s music thesis explores the historical intersectionality of the three primary cultures that comprise the Puerto Rican cultural identity - the island’s native Taínos, the invading Spaniards, and the West African slaves brought to the island by the Spanish. “La Isla de Esperanza” incorporates elements of traditional Spanish music, Taíno chants, West African drumming, and modern Puerto Rican music forms, including Danza, Bomba, Plena, Salsa, and Latin Jazz. In addition to violin, cello, double bass, trumpet, flute, alto saxophone, piano, drums, and guitar, “La Isla de Esperanza” also relies on various forms of traditional Taíno and African percussion, as well as a chorus. Professional Latin percussionist Rene Gonzalez and jazz alto saxophonist Linda Solval ’18 present solo performances. Smith-Rosario set texts by Puerto Rican and Nuyorican poets, including Francisco Arriví, Julia de Burgos, and Miguel Piñero, as well as written texts for her pieces using the Taíno, Yorùbá, and Spanish languages, receiving guidance on Yorùbá translation and drumming traditions from Mount Holyoke College Professor Olabode Omojola and Katherine (Doyin) Ariyibi ’18.
For a complete listing of upcoming Amherst College Department of Music events, visit us on the web: www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/music/events.