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Review by Mark Cronin
A CD recording of part of the latest performance in Brisbane by Canto Coro, a program of choral works titled Exilio (Exile), is now available.
Artistic director of the 60-voice choir, Mark Dunbar, explained: "Experiences of displacement, loss, persecution and exile ... Australia is inhabited by people who know all too well this kind of human tragedy. There are many in this choir who have been the victims of coups and civil wars, and who have suffered because of their political views or the colour of their skin."
Canto Coro premiered the four-part choral work by Sue Monk and Lachlan Hurse which is recorded on the CD. Monk and Hurse have been members of Canto Coro since its inception in 1995.
They wrote the words to Stolen Land, a song about the irony of refugees coming to Australia "seeking refuge among the dispossessed, seeking refuge in a stolen land". They point out that there has been no reconciliation with the indigenous people of this country and that abuses against refugees continue.
Monk and Hurst also set to music the poetry of two Latin Americans living in Australia, Suchil Tunali from Brisbane and Ramon Cuelho from Melbourne.
The composers employ a full musical palette, ranging from bell-like clarity to muted introspection to stirring passages of great force and harmonic complexity. They draw particularly on Cuban musical influences.
Exilio is a musical treat and a lasting memento of one of the most important musical events in Brisbane this year.