Nathaniel Dett Choral, incl. songs of Silvio Rodriguez – May 25, 28

And Still We Sing…Esperanza y Luz

Toronto series finale a latin-themed celebration of hope and light

Wednesday, May 25th and Saturday, May, 28th, 2011 8 PM

Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West, Toronto

Cuban composers Silvio Rodriguez, and  René Baños are featured in this show, which will be performed on two different dates.

The first rays of spring are here, and to celebrate the sunshine after a harsh winter The Nathaniel Dett Chorale presents a Latin-themed concert that sparkles with many facets of renewal, hope and light.  A lush program, the repertoire celebrates the symbolic and romantic change of season evoked most poignantly in this collection of works by Silvio Rodriguez, René Baños, Carlos Alberto Pinto Fonseca, and Adolphus Hailstork. Whether singing in Latin, Spanish, English or Portuguese — when infused with infectious Latin rhythms — feelings of yearning, joy, good times and celebration will resonate throughout this final breath-taking installment of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s remarkable 2010/2011 Toronto series.  And Still We Sing…Esperanza y Luz takes place at the Glenn Gould Studio, CBC Broadcasting Centre at 8:00PM on Wednesday, May 25th and will be repeated at 8:00PM on Saturday, May 28th, 2011.

Over the past 12-seasons The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, whose mission is to illuminate the musical traditions found throughout the African Diaspora, has often used a Latin-flavoured concert program to end its Toronto concert series. In curating this year’s performance, Artistic Director and Founder, Brainerd Blyden-Taylor found inspiration in the melodic and lyrical beauty of each of the pieces he chose for this concert.  “The yearning and optimism is so elegantly expressed, at times heart-breaking but always uplifting,” comments Blyden-Taylor.   “It is a positive message of hope that we believe will invigorate the spirit, fill the soul and set toes tapping.”

Included in the program is an encore performance of Carlos Alberto Pinto Fonseca’s Missa Afro-Brasileira, a work that eliminates the barriers between classical and popular, sacred and profane; combining the primal strength and momentum of hot African rhythms with the soothing warmth and tenderness of lullabies and popular Brazilian styles like the “marcha-rancho” and “samba-canção”.  A fan-favourite, the Chorale’s interpretation of this famed Mass will be the focus of a soon-to-be recorded CD.

Dazzling arrangements from Cuban composer and poet Silvio Rodriguez — who is widely known for his highly eloquent and symbolic lyrics full of seekers trying to find inspiration, answers, love and causes worth fighting for — provides the central core of the evening.  Works such as Esta primavera (arr. Beatriz Corona); Locuras (arr. Liliana Cangiano); Cánteme (arr. Beatriz Corona), and Venga la esperanza (arr. Marta Santibañez) offer an intimate and introspective window into the life cycle. Una Forma Más, a musical gem composed by Cuba’s René Baños, arranged by Ana Maria Raga and co-edited by Nathaniel Dett Chorale alumnus, Jamie Hillman, is loosely translated as “Another Way”, an expressive and optimistic work that conveys the Latin spirit through its positive message of hope.  A trio of works from celebrated African-American composer, Adolphus Hailstork round out the program.  Hailstorks’ poetic and spiritual inspirations for Song of Deborah, Arise My Beloved and Seven Songs of the Rubaiyat offer yet another dimension to the evening’s powerful theme.

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s 2010/2011 Concert Season takes place at the Glenn Gould Studio, in the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front Street. Tickets the And Still We Sing…Esperanza y Luz performance on May 25th or 28th performance are individually $39.50, Seniors $35.00/ Students $30.00. Tickets are available by calling The Nathaniel Dett Chorale ticket-line 416-340-0550 or on-line at


Magical and transformative. The voices and community of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale carry audiences on a journey through the beauty and intricacies of Afrocentric music from around the world. One of Canada’s “national treasures”, the Chorale takes its name for the celebrated African-Canadian composer, R. Nathaniel Dett who is highly regarded for the vocal works he composed based on African American spirituals, as well as works for solo piano in a 19th century Romantic style.  Now in its 12th season, this 20+ member ensemble features a diverse group of outstanding classically-trained musicians who have shared the stage with internationally recognized artists such as Juno Award-winning jazz pianist Joe Sealy, opera star Kathleen Battle, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  The Nathaniel Dett Chorale has also been invited to take part in concerts honouring Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mohammed Ali and recently had the distinct honour of performing at various ceremonies in Washington on the occasion of President Obama’s historic inauguration.  Specializing in Afrocentric musical traditions ranging in style from classical, spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s highly anticipated third commercial recoding, Nguzo Saba, was released last year.

Nguzo Saba Suite, the title track from the new album and written by the late composer, pianist, and conductor, Glenn Edward Burleigh, has seven movements that each represent principles celebrated during Kwanzaa. A seven-day festival in late December, Kwanzaa celebrates African culture including unity, purpose, creativity and faith, which inspires a year-round way of life. Nguzo Saba is a musical masterpiece that combines African musical elements with classical, jazz and gospel themes giving listeners a new piece of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale magic to take home.

For more information, please visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Victoria Lord, Office: 416-484-9047 /

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *