If you were not in the meeting room of the Moline Library between noon and 1 pm today you missed an amazing experience. The group Los Tiempos Pasados (which means Ages Past) from the Mexican state of Guanajuato performed using a mix of modern and early instruments, music mostly from the 13th and 14th Centuries in Spain. The crowd of approximately 85 people was so impressed that at the end of the concert they gave the first standing ovation Christina Conklin, the Children's Services Coordinator of the Moline Library, had seen in that room, in which concerts have been presented for a little over a year.
The music from Spain during that period is a glorious blend of Muslim Arab, Sephardic Jew and Spanish Christian traditions and influences. The leader of the group, Armando López Valdivia, pointed out that this synthesis of different traditions and cultures was like brothers working together, which is something we need to happen now and always.
One early instrument played during the concert that I had not heard of before was the chalumeaux, which is described in reference books as being a pre-cursor to the clarinet. Armando López Valdivia referred to it as a 3000 year old saxophone and then proceeded to play it in a way which made it sound almost exactly like a modern saxophone.
The concert was free, the expenses having been paid by the Moline Public Library, Casa Guanajuato of Moline, the Mexican state of Guanajuato, Ana Van den Bergh of the Cultural Institute of Guanajuato and the University of Guanajuato, where four members of the group are professors.