About the Group

Hagaddah: Detail of Performers

SENDEBAR seeks to recapture the vibrant and exquisite art of medieval Mediterranean music with the intensity and drama of its powerful and timeless musical language. An ongoing study of musicological and linguistic theories gives the ensemble's interpretation of early music the most authentic historical support, while a continuous interaction with the live musical traditions of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East permeates Sendebar's performance with a profound and expressive character. A cooperation between instrument makers and members of the ensemble in the reconstruction of medieval musical instruments has advanced Sendebar's search for a characteristic sound of the middle ages.

The Ensemble and the Reconstruction of Performance Practice

The lack of extant instructions about the performance of medieval music leaves performers and scholars with a sole method of reconstructing medieval performance practice: the study of literary and iconographical sources complemented by personal intuition. This approach, although in many cases musically satisfying, is problematic, of course, since not only the amount of information that can be extrapolated from a silent source is limited at best, but also the personal intuition of a 21st century scholar or player are tainted by modern musical aesthetics. Fortunately, a comparative study between musicological and ethnomusicological data suggests that some elements of the medieval Iberian practice such as ornamentation, articulation, and the combination of melodic and percussion instruments can be still witnessed in musical traditions of the Peninsula and the historically and culturally related Maghreb and Latin America. This fortunate phenomenon of continuity is of significant consequence since it offers the performer the opportunity to corroborate and expand historical information. Thus, under the direction of the historical musicologist Mauricio Molina, and with the participation of the distinguished traditional music specialists Francesc Sans i Bonet, Thomas Rohrer, Cristina Boixadera and Carlo Valte, the ensemble Sendebar performs Medieval Iberian music based on the combination of rigorous scholarship and the observation of pertinent live models.