Suite Mestiza

Score title

Suite Mestiza


Gabriela Lena Frank

More about the composer



Program note

Inspired by the mixed-race cultures of Andean South America, Suite Mestiza for solo violin draws directly on sights and sounds from trips to Perú taken with my mother as traveling companion. As joint personal journeys of remembrance and identity (my mother as a Peruvian born Chinese-Indian-Spanish “costeña” or coastal native who would emigrate to the States upon marrying my father; and me as the American-born Latina), experiences that might be deemed rather ordinary instead have a miraculous cast for us. Some of these are portrayed in the following movements of this violin suite composed for my friend and colleague, Movses Pogossian, a musician of infinite skill and humanity:

I. Haillí (Prayer): Inspired by the lyrical religious songs with Quechua texts, the native non-Spanish language of Peruvians.

II. Vendedora Cholita (Little Indian Sellar Woman): A musical portrait of the teasing yet poignant voice of an Indian seller-woman at an outdoor and bustling mountain market.

III. Charanguista Viejo (Old Charango Player): The quirky and humorous song of an elderly player of the charango, a small high-pitched guitar constructed with the body of an armadillo, is the inspiration for this short movement.

IV. Pinkillo Llorando (Crying Flute): The mellifluous and agile tones of a small mountain flute that “cries” to find its voice.

V. Tarqeuada (Tarka Flute Song): Inspired by one of the most distinctive sounds of Andean South America, this two-chamber flute is frequently used in parades with a unique voicing of 4ths and 5ths.

VI. Canto de la Hoja (Leaf Song): A brief tribute to the delicacy of a single leaf.

VII. Luciérnagas (Fireflies): Inspired by the virtuoso and fleet character of fireflies that are encountered everywhere in Perú.