It Began in Africa

Three decades after its conception, David Fanshawe still finds African Sanctus very much in demand

The wayfaring Fanshawe illustrates his point with a story of a boat trip to the northern Cook Islands, where he slept on a trunk filled with videos. "It was the first time videos had reached the island of Pukapuka," he says. "I had this experience all over the Pacific. Once the islanders started watching movies, they didn't want to practice their traditional dances."

Fanshawe has done his part to preserve some of the world's endangered music by making field recordings in India, Southeast Asia, and West Africa, keeping them in his personal archive in England. His most extensive project has been the ten years spent scouring the South Pacific from Papua New Guinea to the Republic of Yap, recording between 4000 and 5000 hours of music.

But as time goes on and its popularity continues to grow, he finds himself drawn back to African Sanctus. The 1974 album version has become one of the Philips label's all-time best-selling classical records, and the piece has been performed over 1000 times to date.

African Sanctusdocuments the joyful sounds of African people like this Masai girl
David Fanshawe
African Sanctusdocuments the joyful sounds of African people like this Masai girl

Details

Friday, October 10, and Saturday, October 11, at 8:00 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $20. Call 305-284-4940.
The Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr, Coral Gables, FL

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"When I first started doing performances they were sporadic. Now there's usually a performance, sometimes more, every week. It's extraordinary," he marvels. "This is because there's much more understanding and sympathy for world music, and people are much more willing to embrace other cultures and realize that there's not just white music."

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