Powell River and Texada Island concerts to highlight Renaissance era music

Historical music and instruments a passion for performers Joya Muma and Albano Berberi

History will be on offer when Texada Island resident Joya Muma and her friend Albano Berberi from Boston bring their musical talents to the stage in two January concerts.

“We will play a selection of English and Scottish music from the Renaissance,” said Muma. “Much of music from that era hasn’t been played since it was composed in the 1600s, so this is a chance to experience some lovely, interesting music that deserves to be heard more often.”

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Muma grew up in Powell River and spent much of her childhood at the Powell River Academy of Music.

“I took piano and trumpet, and sang in many choirs,” said Muma. “I was considering studying cello at university, but when I saw my first lute at a concert when I was 15, I knew that was what I wanted to focus on.”

Muma completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of York, England, in Renaissance lute, then took a post-grad year in Boston, where she met Berberi.

“I started playing keyboard at a young age,” said Berberi. “When I was five, my family took me to the local conservatory to look at other instruments to study, and I settled on the violin. A family friend got me interested in historical music when I was about 12, and in high school I tried out a Baroque violin and loved it, so that’s how I ended up specializing.”

The instrument Berberi plays was made in 1772, and was a gift from one of his college professors.

“There are some structural differences between the modern violin and the Baroque violin,” said Berberi. “There is no chin rest, the fingerboard is shorter, and the body is narrower, among others. The Baroque violin has a more mellow and organic sound as a result.”

Berberi will also play harpsichord for the concert.

“Albano’s own harpsichord is too heavy to transport, but my neighbour has a virginal harpsichord that she hadn’t played in 20 years,” said Muma. “The virginal is very small and transportable with a big sound, and was very popular in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. We actually took it to Vancouver on Boxing Day to have a harpsichord maker install new strings and perform some maintenance so it would be ready for our concerts.”

Muma and Berberi encourage people in Powell River and on Texada Island to come see the instruments, hear the music, and experience the history for themselves.

“We’ll have lots of different combinations of instruments, including some solo lute and solo harpsichord pieces,” said Berberi.

The duo will perform an evening concert at 7 pm on Friday, January 3, at the United Church in Van Anda, and an afternoon concert at 3 pm on Sunday, January 5, at Powell River United Church, 6932 Crofton Street. Tickets are only available at the door; adult admission is $15 and children enter for free.

 
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