Mediterranean Music Institute Holds First Mediterranean Roots Festival
The biannual Mediterranean Roots Festival (Festival Raíces del Mediterráneo), produced by the Mediterranean Music Institute and Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain, held concerts this fall that celebrated the musical heritage of the Mediterranean area and its fusions.
For the October 29 inaugural concert, the festival collaborated with the HeForShe campaign, a UN Women solidarity movement that seeks to engage men and boys as advocates and agents of change in favor of gender equality. Magos Herrera, a Mexican singer and UN Women spokesperson, and the Mediterranean Ensemble, directed by saxophonist Perico Sambeat, offered heartfelt performances before a full auditorium in the Theatre Martin i Soler in the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia. The ensemble opened the show with a beautiful rendition of the Paco de Lucía composition "Zyriab," followed by a composition by Algerian composer Karim Zyad.
The next day the MMI honored the legacy of the great Paco de Lucía with a tribute concert, thereby closing a series of events in his honor that were held throughout the year. The concert featured flute and saxophone player Jorge Pardo, one of flamenco's most innovative instrumentalists and a longtime member of de Lucía's sextet, and composer and vocalist Pepe de Lucía, a living legend in the flamenco world. Along with his brother, Paco de Lucía, he is considered to be one of the greatest flamenco musicians of all time. Accompanying the band was flamenco singer Saúl Quirós, flamenco guitarist Antonio Sánchez, Paco de Lucía’s nephew, and young flamenco percussionist Ané Carrasco. A group of students also joined the stage to perform with Pardo.
Quirós, Sánchez, and Carrasco performed three highly energetic and traditional flamenco songs, and Pardo followed with a beautiful flute solo of a medley with mentions of Manuel de Fallas’s song "El Amor Brujo." Berklee students joined in and performed three of his original flamenco compositions to a captivated audience.
Javier Limón, the artistic director of the MMI, honored Pepe de Lucía with the Masters in Mediterranean Music Award for his longtime contribution to flamenco music. After a profound acceptance speech, Pepe de Lucía gave a thrilling performance, singing one of Pardo's memorable flamenco compositions to an amazed audience. The Huffington Post called this show one of the top performances of 2015.
This concert was made possible by donations from El País, Universal Music Spain, and Casa Limón with the tribute album Entre20Aguas. The festival was possible thanks to the collaboration of Sony Music, UN Women, El País, Universal Music Spain, and Casa Limón. The next festival is scheduled for 2017.
Watch these performances from the 2015 Mediterranean Roots Festival: