The completion of the Cuatro Project´s documentary on the cuatro and its music:
Nuestro Cuatro, Vol. 2: A Historic Concert
Produced by the Puerto Rican Cuatro Project
Produced, directed and scripted by Juan Sotomayor, William Cumpiano and Wil Echevarría
DVD 95 minutes
In Spanish with available English subtitles
(Read about Volume 1 here)
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This is the conclusion of a two-volume Cuatro Project video documentary that covers the cultural and musical history of the iconic stringed instruments native to Puerto Rico.
NUESTRO CUATRO: A historic concert, describes the lasting, sentimental adventure of Puerto Ricans around the world with their small cuatro--an instrument which has been intimately tied to their history and culture for four centuries. The documentary is a moving celebration of the music and the personalities that have been so closely tied to the iconic instrument, including conversations with retired elder cuatro masters; with the renown super-stars who carried what was once a rustic country instrument into the greatest theatres and concert hall of the world; with the most prominent cuatro-maker on the Island; with the young women artists that have been opening a path through what was once an entirely masculine tradition; with the emerging crop of brilliant young players that are now taking the instrument into unexpected directions and who currently are forging a new repertory based on traditional forms.
The complete documentary, Volume 1 and Volume 2 comprise 12 chapters is now complete with the final work that summarizes the modern history of the "national instrument" of Puerto Rico.
Prologue: The Teatro Puerto Rico
Jibaro music in New York
Summarizes the rise and fading away of the legendary Teatro Puerto Rico of the Bronx section of New York City diring the decades of 1950 and 1960--a fiesta of nostalgia and patriotism lasting twenty years, enjoyed by multitudes of "niyorriqueños," wildly cheerig their local and visiting jíbaro musicians, keeping alive their music traditions while the same ones were vanishing on the Island.
Chapter 8: The Cuatro and the Nueva Trova
Shows us the roots of the re-awakening during the decade of 1970 of a new passion on the Island for its own native expressions: begun by students and youths searching backwards to rediscover the old musical traditions and bringing them anew into the present, as a display of their protest against cultural colonialism and the Vietnam War.
Chapter 9: The Great Maestros
Live visits with the legendary grand-masters, the Old Guard of the cuatro: Nieves Quintero, Nicanor Zayas, Yomo Toro, Tuto Feliciano, Roque Navarro and Maso Rivera--the last three passing away shortly after the documentary was completed.
Chapter 10: The artisans
Visits with two of the most prominent cuatro-makers on the Island, Jaime Alicea and Vicente Valentín, as they guide us through the process of making their instruments inside their own shops, and expressing their special relationship to the instrument and its traditions.
Chapter 11: From the Jíbaro Orchestra to the Symphony Orchestra
An inspiring musical parade that features the cuatro in the many modalities that it appeared in through time: in a jíbaro orchestra playing 19th century Salon music while in the countryside; in a gathering playing Old Favorites on electric cuatros in a huge Chicago theatre; in a Jazz combo; with a young virtuoso playing the music of Vivaldi and Paganini before a 55-member symphony orchestra; in a duo made up of a conservatory recitalist on classical guitar and a world-renown cuatro player playing a modern Tango by Piazzola; another duo of maestros playing Brazilian Bossa Nova; two young stars playing an Indie Rock ballad inside a cuatro workshop; and more.
Chapter 12: The New Golden Age
A new generation of young cuatro artists emerges, each one taking up the baton offered by the old guard and the current generation of cuatro masters; or who have acquired their skills with the proliferating cuatro schools and community orchestras spread across the Island and across the United States. The cuatro, originally a small, rustic folk instrument created by ancient subsistence farmers on a small Caribbean island, now belongs to the world.
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