Jordi Savall at the Maison symphonique: The Routes of Slavery 1444–1888

A grand concert presented for the North American premiere

Traquen’Art, a performing arts presenter since 1982, invites the public to an extraordinary experience with Jordi Savall, who will be back in Montreal for one night only to perform the North American premiere of The Routes of Slavery 1444–1888, at the Maison symphonique on Tuesday, November 14 at 8:00 pm.

With this unique, historical project covering musical traditions from medieval Europe to negro spirituals, Jordi Savall pays moving homage to some 35 million men, women and children who were taken from their families and brought to the New World to be slaves. The Routes of Slavery sheds light on one of human history’s most painful and abhorrent chapters, still too little known to the general public.

The concert features living music drawn from the traditions of slaves from West Africa, Brazil, Mexico and the Caribbean, in dialogue with Hispanic and European musical forms, which were inspired in turn by the songs and dances of slaves, natives, and racial mixtures of all kinds. It represents the blending of African and American heritages with those of the European Renaissance and Baroque periods.

“Singing and dancing to the rhythm of music brings people to spaces of expression and freedom,” explained Savall. “So it was a means of conveying sorrow and joy, suffering and hope. For human beings with highly varied origins and languages, it also made it possible to create a common world and resist the negation of their humanity,” he said.

Through this emotional and surprisingly lively music, Savall evokes the history of these routes of slavery and the slave trade by calling on the memory of victims’ descendants, as well as Christian songs (Mateo Flecha El Viejo (La Negrina), Gaspar Fernandes (imss. de Puebla), Juan Garcia de Céspedes, Diego Durón, etc.), resulting from a culture of conquest and forced evangelization.

Above and beyond recognizing this human tragedy, Jordi Savall’s initiative also celebrates a UNESCO-sponsored musical reconciliation by showing the richness of the music and dance produced by this memory, and by highlighting its inexhaustible source of inspiration for all and the foundations for equality and reciprocity specific to human ingenuity.

36 musicians on stage

Jordi Savall will be accompanied by a number of guest musicians and singers from Africa (Mali, Madagascar and Morocco), South America (Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela), as well as Tembembe Ensamble Continuo (Mexico), a gospel choir from Nashville, The Fairfield Four, a narrator and his usual partners, Hespèrion XXI and La Capella Reial de Catalunya.

Gambist, conductor, composer, concert artist, educator, researcher, scholarly creator and founder of the Alia Vox record label, Jordi Savall is an extraordinary maestro. Discovered in 1991 thanks to Alain Corneau’s film Tous les matins du monde, Savall is now well-positioned among the standard-bearers of the current revalorization of so-called historical music. His work has always been internationally renowned and full of spirited emotion, faithful to the various music styles from the medieval period up to the 19th century, revalorizing both specific and universal repertoires of the music of Europe, the Mediterranean and the world.

Jordi Savall – The Routes of Slavery 1444-1888 at Maison symphonique de Montréal, Tuesday, November 14, at 8 pm. This program received UNESCO patronage. For more information, please visit Tickets available at or 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

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