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LORETO - Musical Concert in December

Musical Concert in Loreto's Museum Courtyard, on December 6th, 2012
Loreto Report from Jeannine Perez of El Caballo Book Store

The moon, almost completely full, lights the streets near our Mission, and casts giant shadows of trees and listeners on the Mission walls. Music and moonlight transform the small courtyard, and the mood is one of romance, as we listen to the music of Andrei Krylov, a Russian guitarist, composer, and poet, now living in Quebec, and visiting Loreto.

The concert offers a variety of music, something for every taste; ballads, very old Russian folk songs, classical music, gypsy tunes, a Renaissance strain composed centuries ago in a monastery and flamenco music. Andrei also sings a few of of his ballads and folk songs in Russian.

We're immersed in what we hear, and the old stones in the Mission wall seem to soak up Andrei's music as they block the chilly night wind. The belfry glows a pinkish orange. I look up to wonder how much music, and how many petitions, tears, and prayers have been captured through the centuries into these ancient shell studded stones. And who could ever have predicted that I'd be sitting here, in southern Baja, listening to Russian music on this moonlit night?

This concert is one of many efforts planned by our new mayor and the Loreto municipal, to offer culture through music and art, to this small pueblo. Almost every Friday evening, there is a flurry of activity and something is offered in our plaza, in rooms of the municipal building, or in the museum. This summer, we've watched dancers and heard music performed by local young people. We've had the chance to participate in countless holiday celebrations, and been invited to attend art and photography exhibitions in the plaza and the municipal. The art by local artists covers a wide spectrum, from a theme of the Mexican Revolution, the Mexican Loteria, to provocative paintings of nudes done with coffee in many shades of brown.

Tonight, it is music that fills the courtyard of our museum. Children play quiet games in the darkness behind the audience, and trees tall and dark are backdrops for the guitarist. Near the end of the performance, a cell phone rings persistently and loudly, and I am jarred back into modern times.

Andrei Krylove was born in March of 1961 in Saint Petersburg Russia, and began his musical studies when he was 11. He has performed in recitals and concerts in Russia, the Ukraine, Estonia, the U.S., Canada, and now in Mexico. Over the years, he has won many awards for his recordings.

The concert is free, Andrei sells CDs of his music, and any donations collected for families struggling with unemployment or bad health in Loreto are gratefully accepted.

When teaching in Moscow, almost twenty years ago, I was told that Mother Russia mourns in her literature, and celebrates with her music. I'm sure this must be true.

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