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December 2001

Music of the Jesuit missions in Araucania:
The Voice From The Huilliche Children

The CD "Music from the Jesuit missions in Araucania during the 18th Century" is a testimony of the important work that the Jesuits did promoting Latin America's original cultures. A legacy that is now cast in oblivion but lives again in the voices of the Huilliche Children Chorus, from Chiloé. Along with the group Syntagma Musicum from Universidad de Santiago, we listen in the mapudungun (mapuche) language songs from the German baroque translated by the German missionary Bernardo de Havestadt in 1977. now brings you two of the CD tracks in MP3 format.
Clik here to download the files
Duamtumn Vill - Track 01
Mar Mari - Track 02
During the second half of the Sixteenth Century, the independence of South American Christianity from the Spanish, and its subordination to Lima's Bishop, starts an important rescue movement of original ethnic cultures inside religious missions, adapting the Catechism to their particularities. There are councils and books to guide missionaries in the area. The knowledge of native tongues, the adaptation of Catechism contents to each town and its teaching through songs were the main guidelines, which continued till the end of the 19th Century.

Besides the indigenous grammar books, edited by the Jesuits, there were Catechism books written in the mapuche language (mapudungún), which included traditional prayers and some melodies to sing. "Chilidugú sive tractatus linguae chilensis", was a treaty of mapuche language published in Westfalia in 1777 by the German Jesuit missionary Bernardo de Havestadt. It is the only conserved book that gives, along with the Catechism, a complete repertoire of written missionary music in mapudungún, with its lyrics and scores. Musicologist Victor Rondón, who has developed a wide investigation about the missionaries' musical legacy, took part of that.

In this context is inscribed his project "Baroque Jesuit-Mapuche repertoire: CD edition", funded by FONDART (State Fund for the Arts) and Minera Escondida, sponsored by Chile's Cultural Heritage Corporation and the Cultural Donations Law, along with the Universidad de Santiago and Universidad de Chile Art Schools. The final product is the CD "Music from the Jesuit missions in Araucania of the 17th Century", in which the Children Choir of the Huilliche Community in Chiloé, with the arrangements of the group Syntagma Musicum of Universidad de Santiago, sing the German religious songs translated to the mapudungún by Father Havestadt, a Jesuit settled in the araucana mission of Santa Fe, between 1748 and 1756. It was recorded in 1998 at the Yaldad Chappel, in Quellón, Chiloé, with the sound company of wind and rain, a presence that can be heard on record.
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