Our Ignatian song last week was “Gabriel’s Oboe” from the movie “The Mission.” The movie depicts the dramatic story of the Jesuit “reductions” in South America, communities of indigenous people whom the Jesuits protected from the rapacious colonial Spanish. The Jesuits protected the communities, educated the young people, and introduced European culture. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll remember the scenes of the baroque music played and sung by Indian children.
The Jesuits were expelled from South America in the mid-eighteenth century, but their baroque music stayed behind. It evolved into a genre called Bolivian Baroque, a mixture of European and indigenous music played on instruments from both cultures. In recent years caches of manuscripts of this music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have been discovered, and ensembles have begin to record and perform it. Read more about it here.
You can hear Bolivian Baroque in this video promoting a music festival in Bolivia several years ago. This is a composition by the Bolivian composer Henry Villca.