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Centuries-old baroque music survives in Bolivian jungle


Reinaldo Yambami conducts the baroque orchestra and chorus of young people of Santiago de Chiquitos, in a concert in the village of San Xavier in the Chiquitania region of Bolivia. Baroque music was introduced by Jesuits, more than 300 years ago. (Photo: Mattia Cabitza)

Bolivia's baroque roots

In the early 1700s, Italian composer Domenico Zipoli composed his share of music.  He moved to Madrid, joined the Jesuits and went to the colonies of South America, where he composed this mass.
 
A movement from his mass played by the young people from San Xavier.
 
This music is still vigorously performed today by a children's orchestra from a small town in Bolivia. 
 
Turns out baroque music was used by Jesuits in the quest for converts. Now, it's been preserved in a cultural bubble, protected by rural isolation --and by indigenous children for whom this music is a passion. 

That's why choirs and orchestras from 10 villages recently took part in a five-day festival in this remote region, as we hear from journalist  Mattia Cabitza on his way to the show.  

 
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