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Native Angels - Musical Miracles From the New World
Savae Vocal Ensmble, San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble
Native Angels - Musical Miracles From the New World
Genres: World Music, New Age, Pop, Classical, Latin Music
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1


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All Artists: Savae Vocal Ensmble, San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble
Title: Native Angels - Musical Miracles From the New World
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Iago Records
Release Date: 6/18/1996
Genres: World Music, New Age, Pop, Classical, Latin Music
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 774462021629

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CD Reviews

CHANTS for a New World
(4 out of 5 stars)

"REDISCOVERED EARLY LITURGICAL WORKS BLEND EUROPEAN, NATIVE SOUNDSBy Bill Minutaglio, Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning NewsThe feeling, at first, is as if you were in a cathedral, with the spiraling, echoing harmonies of sacred music by 17th-century European masters washing overhead. But from somewhere outside, somewhere "over there," comes an insistent, throbbing counterpoint. The juxtaposition is jarring initially--there is a percussive, rhythmic urgency on one side, a stylized mixture of sopranos, altos and tenors on the other.The "Native Angels" recording by the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble begins with a piece of polyphonic processional music sung on feast days in honor of the Virgin Mary. First published in 1631 in Lima, Peru, it literally sets the tone for the rest of this recording project--an attempt to recreate the music most likely sung in the 16th-to 18th-century New World missions by the Spanish colonialists, their slaves and conquered Indians.There is a muscular underpinning to the "traditional" music as it was imported by the Spanish friars and taught in the old missions, and that drive is provided by Aztec log drums, African bata drum and a simple, boxy instrument called the 'cajon'.The 16 selections, culled from church and museum archives, are all defined by the marriage of cultures. A piece written in the 17th century by Juan Garcia de Zespedes in Puebla, Mexico--"Convidando esta la noche"--has an Afro-Cuban flavor that seems light years removed from the singular, high harmonies probably then being heard in Spanish cathedrals. Musicologists affiliated with the project have suggested that the song's refrain is tied to deep-rooted African dances.It could even be suggested that some of the pieces were among the early New World versions of 'corridos'--the popular Hispanic tunes that often blend the real world and news of the day into their lyrics. There are lyrics devoted to throwing parties, giving tobacco as gifts and playing games on horseback--but all usually done as a way to worship the Lord."Native Angels" is, in some ways, fusion church music--where the airy, ethereal choir meets the conga drum. And it is, at least, a partial window into how--even in the painful, historical context of the Spanish conquest--church music served as a bittersweet common language in the New World.--Bill Minutaglio, The Dallas Morning News, Saturday, September 14, 1996"
'Native Angels' is REALLY roots music
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Reviewed by Jim Beal, Jr., San Antonio Express-NewsIn a cover letter that accompanied the new CD, "Native Angels: Musical Miracles From the New World," by the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE), Iago/Talking Taco label owner Ben Tavera King wrote, "Here's a CD of true San Antonio roots music. It doesn't get any older than this--I don't believe."King is likely on-the-mark.With "Native Angels," the octet delivers a compelling collection of the vocal-with-percussion music that was the result of American Indian and African slaves fusing their traditional sensibilities with songs taught by the Spanish missionaries of the Roman Catholic church.The songs on "Native Angels" date from the early 16th century to the early 18th century. The ensemble has done its homework. The music was found in manuscripts in cathedral archives in Mexico, Central America and South America. Roots indeed.The spare style, which showcases the sheer, pure instruments that are the ensemble's voices, was originally performed in church outposts from the American Southwest to Lima, Peru.Religious affiliations of listeners to "Native Angels" will not matter. Like the chants of the Benedictine monks, surprise hits a couple of years ago, the songs on "Native Angels" come pretty close to being a sound that strikes universal chords.San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble is Kathy Mayer, soprano; Phil Zamora, bass; Christopher Moroney, bass; Cathy Crosby-Schmidt, soprano; Tanya Moczygemba, alto; Covita Moroney, alto; Chris Crosby-Schmidt, tenor; and Lee P'Pool, tenor."
Choir yields CD discoveries
(4 out of 5 stars)

"NATIVE ANGELS, SAVAE VOCAL ENSEMBLE, IAGO CD 204Reviewed by David Hendricks, San Antonio Express-News, Sunday, October 13, 1996Six years after its debut, and after already appearing on National Public Radio's "Performance Today," SAVAE (San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble), has a first compact-disc recording that is out with a blast.Eight voices and percussion. Music from colonial Latin America in the 1500s and 1600s. It's that simple and that beautiful. The Spanish missionaries brought their music to the villages of the U.S. Southwest on down to Peru. The Indians and slaves added their rhythms.The scores of the 16 works performed on the 50-minute CD came out of the churches where they were composed and ritually played long ago. The European-Indian-slave cultural mix in those centuries may not have been smooth. There were diseases and wars. But the musical blend was harmonious. The music beams with joy, hope and life. The performances by the San Antonio musicians are astonishingly perfect whether in unison or in supple, blended layers.The singers are Kathy Mayer, Phil Zamora, Christopher Moroney, Cathy Crosby-Schmidt, Tanya Moczygemba, Covita Moroney, Chris Crosby-Schmidt and Lee P'Pool. Eric Casillas is percussionist, helped on rainsticks by Ben Tavera King, the producer of Talking Taco's Iago CD label distributing the new disc."