Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Traditional Arts in Partnership with Asia Society Texas Center Present Voices of the Spirit V

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 3/13/2015, 7:44 a.m.
Each year Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Traditional Arts program in partnership with Asia Society Texas Center shines a light ...
Danza Chinelos del Estado de Guerrero

A concert celebrating devotional music from Houston’s diverse faith communities

Saturday & Sunday, April 25 & 26, 2015

Asia Society Texas Center

HOUSTON, TX – Each year Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Traditional Arts program in partnership with Asia Society Texas Center shines a light on Houston’s diverse cultural landscape through the devotional music of our faith communities with its Voices of the Spirit concerts. From a capella gospel and the Golden Age of American Jewish religious music to Hindustani songs, this year’s concerts on Saturday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 26 at 3 p.m. reflect the richness of our city’s religious practices as in years past, but with a special twist: a spectacular finale featuring the chinelos tradition of dancers in colorful larger-than-life costumes from southern Mexico.

Both performances will feature the same program and take place in the stunning Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater at Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore Blvd.

Whether through syncopated close harmonies, devotional ragas, classic cantorial song or a vibrant brass band, each tradition voices its unique spirituality through a distinctive musical style with a long history. Now in its fifth year, Voices of the Spirit will begin with praise music from a cappella gospel ensemble The Cortez Family, followed by Cantor Daniel Mutlu singing repertoire from the Golden Age of American Jewish religious music. The program will continue with David and Chandrakantha Courtney performing Hindustani vocal music accompanied by sitar, tabla, tanpura and esraj. The concert will close with Danza Chinelos del Estado de Guerrero and Banda Viento Morelense de los Hermanos Campos, making it the first time a Voices of the Spirit program presents a non-vocal sacred music tradition.

Creating and organizing Voices of the Spirit is just one of the ways that the Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Traditional Arts program has opened the doors to various communities and exposed Houston audiences to new selections of sacred music traditions each year.

Admission is free and open to the general public with reservations at asiasociety.com/texas, limit two per person. For additional requests, please call 713.496.9901. Unclaimed tickets will be released 10 minutes prior to the event.

Voices of the Spirit is made possible by the generosity of the National Endowment for the Arts and Houston Endowment.

About the Performers

The Cortez Family

The Cortez Family consists of five siblings who have been singing together for more than two decades. Brought up in their grandfather’s church, Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church in Acres Homes, this group of brothers and sisters continue a long tradition of gospel music in their family. Zacardi, Erin, Eric, Neesha and Erica began singing when they were three, five, seven and nine, respectively, and all are still singing today — as a group, solo and in several other configurations — in churches throughout Houston. They began as an a capella group and have graduated to a variety of styles. For this performance, they return to their roots with rousing renditions from older repertoire popular in traditional African American sacred music.