Sunday, November 16, 2008

In Review--Music for Campesinos


Skruk and Katie Cardenal
Mass for the Man in the Street
Kirkelig Kulturverksted

The Norwegian choir Skruk and Latin American singer-songwriter Katie Cardenal's Misa Campesina (Mass for the Man on the Street), possesses an inspiring message, I just don't know what it is. While the music with its Caribbean warmth, good will and splendid vocals create a unique listening pleasure, I wish that English translation had been provided.

However, despite my lack of foreign language skills, the Norwegian choir and Nicaraguan musicians have created a beautiful setting for composer Carlos Mejia Godoy's Nicaraguan mass for the common people. I am well-read on the late Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda and his words about the common person, so I find myself enjoying this lively mass. And I am all too familiar with the ups and downs of Latin American politics and social causes so this recording hits home with me.

The usual musical structure of a mass (kyria, gloria, etc) are included but performed with a Latin American band complete with rollicking marimba and plenty of sun drenched vocals. This is one of, if not the happiest recorded masses I have ever heard. For those wanting to celebrate the new era in which the Americas are embarking (an indigenous president in Bolivia, a woman president in Argentina, and a African-American president in the U.S.), this recording contributes to the human spirit. I would guess that this mass reflects on what the common person can achieve in a spirit of oneness.

Kirkelig Kultureverksted