Thursday, April 18, 2002

Jean de Lery

Lee Boyd's latest report from the Villa-Lobos Conference in Paris makes reference (in her report on Emmanual Gorge's presentation "Influences indigenes sur le langage musical de Villa-Lobos") to the 16th Century French explorer Jean de Lery. In his Histoire d'un voyage faict en la terre du Bresil, autrement dite Amerique, published in 1578, Lery quotes a number of Indian melodies, which Villa-Lobos later used in some of his compositions.

Thanks to the excellent University of Virginia Library website "The Renaissance in Print: Sixteenth Century Books in the Douglas Gordon Collection", portions of Lery's book are available in facsimile on the web. The picture above shows a woodcut of a Tupi ceremonial dance pictured in the rare first edition of Jean de Lery's Brazilian book. Here's a larger version. Note the parrot, a common companion of many performers on album covers - see Benjamin Bunch's album above.

A modern translation of Lery's work is available in paperback from the Amazon site includes sample pages.

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