Saturday, September 17, 2016

TROUBADOURS ART ENSEMBLE, CRUZY - CONCERT REVIEW

Different lineup. But same music...

One of the unexpected perks of living in this region of the south of France involves the interest in history, both political and cultural. And the cultural history is rich and diverse given the waves of influences that have washed over the region. The Troubadours Art Ensemble's recent program in the Eglise Sainte-Eulalie in Cruzy exemplifies the interest that diversity holds for local audiences as well as the pleasing - and somewhat surprising - professionalism of many of the presentations that we have had the pleasure to attend.

Well over 100 people attended the free concert on a recent Friday evening. To my surprise, there wasn't even a donation basket in evidence - a free concert that was totally free! I'd never been in Cruzy's church before. It's a fine example with an impressive altar piece, fine statuary, several side chapels, and the wonderful acoustics that allow for easy listening to vocal music without amplification. A quick search revealed little detail but I'd wager the church was built in or about the 11th Century.

The concert by the Troubadours Art Ensemble titled Musica Mediterranea featured music of the 12th Century troubadours of the region as well as traditional sephardic and North African music. The six presenters all played instruments, some modern, some traditional. Three sang with mezzo Sandra Hurtado-Ros demonstrating the strongest voice. Abdalatef Bouzbiba played a modern-looking violin in the style of a rebec and was the featured vocalist for two North African pieces, one an impressive acappella turn. Leader Gerard Zuchetto's light tenor got lost occasionally behind the instrumentation but that's just a quibble. 

Highly professional by any standard, offered to an engaged, appreciative audience. Catch the Troubadours Art Ensemble if you have the chance. Check out their music on HERE. Neat stuff.

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