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Inspired by Ascención Solórsano de Cervantes’ oral history taken down by Smithsonian ethnologist J. P. Harrington, this multi-media cantata honors the life of Ascención Solórsano de Cervantes (1854-1930), the last of the California Amah-Mutsun (San Juan) tribal band to retain complete linguistic and cultural fluency of her people.

The cantata recounts myriad aspects of Amah-Mutsun cultural history: tribal creation stories, combined with pre-contact daily life, basketry and foods, segue into a lamentation for the enslavement and genocide of Ascención’s people under Spanish, Mexican, and American governments. The cantata’s closing scenes honor Ascención’s renown as The Saint of Gilroy and share Harrington’s moving elegy for his revered consultant.
Music