Balamcoatl takes audiences on a journey of movement and experimental sound from the South to the North of Mexico, using traditional regional costumes and instruments. Balam (jaguar in Maya), and coatl (serpent in Nahuatl), unite to weave Mesoamerican themes into a tapestry of colorful legends, drawing audience members into the story through participatory song and dance. During the interactive presentation, children have the opportunity to dance inside the jaguar’s paper mâché costume and play instruments such as turtle shells with deer horns, maracas, drums and rattles.
The wind and percussion instruments bring the audience down a magic path, leading back to the jaguar’s home: the jungle. Ernesto, on the drums, and Miguel, on flute, interact with the children; asking them which jungle noise is made by each instrument. The students then have the opportunity to dance inside the jaguar’s paper maché costume and to play instruments like turtle shells with deer horns, maracas, drums and rattles. Balamcoatl has a Collection of instruments include: elaborately carved wooden drums, shells, deer antlers, turtle shells, bone and sculpted clay flutes and whistles.
Their colorfully embroidered clothing, magnificent masks, jewelry and head dresses combined with a collection of instruments may be set to a back drop of original murals, tapestry or ceramics. All senses will be stimulated by this experience complemented by their music.
The 15-piece MSJO performs works by Ellington, Strayhorn, Basie, plus musical sketches of Shelby’s newest project, an oratorio for jazz orchestra and voice composed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the legacy of his historic journey. Co-commissioned by YBGF.