Noches de Parranda
“Noches de Parrandas,” a new musical suite by Yosvany Terry, syncretizes jazz and symphonic music with unique percussive instruments used only in the Parrandas celebrations of Remedios, Cuba, to create a contemporary orchestral representation of the voices, characters, sounds, and sights of Las Noches de Parrandas (Nights of Festivities), one of Cuba’s oldest, grandest, and most enduring cultural celebrations. The listener is transported on a musical journey to Remedios to experience Las Parrandas – a 200-year-old civic celebration in which the entire town of 30,000 participates, and comprising 9 days and nights of parades, dancing in the streets, artful competitions, and fireworks. The festivities crescendo to a grand finale on Christmas Eve with the visually stunning “trabajos de plaza” – immense, 70-foot-high illuminated floats that delight the senses and defy the imagination.
Terry’s tour de force reflects a personal as well as community memory – inspired by his father’s stories as a bandleader performing Las Parrandas for over 30 years. Through this composition, Terry has come to understand the natural way in which culture formed in the New World. The celebration of Las Noches de Parrandas reflects the marriage of two cultures – Spaniards and Africans combining their cultural and artistic energies to create an extraordinary synthesis transcending race, socio-economic status, language, and religion. It represents the dissolution of ‘the other’ and assimilation of a new ‘self’ as people learned to live together within a new, functional identity based on current realities. For Terry, this is the heart of the project.