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Chanticleer Embarks Upon The Mission Road

May 19, 2008

Some pilgrimages must be made. I spent Thursday night three and a half hours down the California coast in San Luis Obispo listening to Chanticleer, the renowned San Francisco-based a capella male vocal ensemble, perform music from the Mission period.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Grammy-winning group is undertaking a tour of eight of the 21 missions on the California coast's legendary Camino Real, including two concerts in San Francisco's Mission Dolores, where it made its inaugural public appearance in 1978. I'll be witnessing the first of those concerts tomorrow evening. If it's as mesmerizing as the San Luis Obispo soiree, then I'm in for a treat.

Hearing the group perform songs by such 18th century west coast musical luminaries as Juan Bautisto Sancho and Manuel de Sumaya in the very buildings in which this music was originally played is what makes the concerts truly special. Chanticleer's clarity of tone and gentle expressionism probably has something to do with the magic too.

For the story behind the tour, check out my article in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times.

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