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This article isn't new but it's wonderful--in a corner of the Bolivian rain forest, the indigenous people play a homegrown version of Baroque music on classical instruments they make themselves, a legacy of the Jesuit missions of nearly 3 centuries ago.…
The story of the Jesuit missions in South America is known to most people through the 1986 film The Mission, but when Ennio Morricone composed his beautiful score, the indigenous Baroque pieces were thought to be lost, so the soundtrack is his imaginative reconstruction instead.
But when a Polish priest started talking to the indigenous people of the region in the late 80s, it turned out that they had preserved much of the music of the period, painstakingly copying it generation after generation as the manuscripts quickly decayed in the jungle moisture.
According to visitors, the people of the region ended up really liking the Morricone soundtrack and incorporating it into their repertoire, so now when you go to a concert or church service, you'll hear both indigenous Baroque pieces with snippets of Ennio Morricone mixed in!
It's a wonderful illustration about how music and culture are living things, with influences going back and forth across continents and across the centuries. And a glimpse at a different, better world where Europeans came to the Americas bearing violins instead of guns...
If you want to hear what Bolivian Baroque music sounds like, here's a little snippet, from a Bolivian indigenous choir's tour of Europe:
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