Havana’s Medieval Festival Jan 16-21

Press release

HAVANA TIMES — This new year, 2018, is welcoming the third edition of Havana’s Medieval Festival, a way of bringing the Middle Ages to a modern audience via theory events, concerts and exhibitions.

Music will take over winter nights in the city, taking the audience on a journey through the Romanesque’s different repertoires. The host group, Ensemble Lauda, under Henry Vidal’s direction, will play at the opening ceremony, performing – Music in the Beati – with an intriguing repertoire of antiphonies, sequences, tropes and hymns written during the 8th to 12th centuries, ending in music for the cult to Saint James the apostle, an advocate for Christianity.

The event will include performances by foreign artists for the first time, and these will come from Colombia, Spain and France bringing us pieces such as the sequence to the Holy Spirit O Ignis Spiritus paraclitis by Hildegart von Bingen for voice and live electronic instruments, or the art of the hurdy-gurdy and its thousand-year history, otrora organistrum; ending with a concert of holy music from the 7th and 8th centuries conducted by our guest Brigitte Lesne, the director of Discantus female voice training group and co-director of Alla Francesca, prestigious music groups who play ancient music in France.

The host group Ensemble Lauda will also be presenting their monograph work on one of the most common socio-cultural phenomena in the middle ages: the pilgrimages and romerias to sanctuaries in the voice of young maidens, Galician/Portuguese songs written by 13th century composers, on a journey that will take Santiago de Compostela as its starting point.

Havana’s Medieval Festival is organized by the medieval musical group Ensemble Lauda, collaborating with the Galician Culture Department at Havana University alongside the Arts and Humanities Department, Havana University’s Eca de Quieros Portuguese Department, the Sacred Music Department, the Padre Felix Valera Cultural Center, the Ars Longa Ancient Music Group and the City Historian’s Office. It is being sponsored by the French and Portuguese embassies, under the auspices of the Leo Brower office and flute-makers Mr. John Pringle, Mr. Yuri Terenyi and Proyecto Guayabo. The festival will take place between January 16th and 21st in spaces such as the San Francisco de Paula Church, Nuestra Senora de la Merced Church, Espirito Santo Church, Santo Angel Custodio Church and Casa Victor Hugo.


Tuesday Jan. 16th / 8 PM / Baptistery Chapel, S.M.I Cathedral in Havana:

«La música en los beatos» Musical performance based on the vision of the Commentary on the Apocalypse by Beatus from Liebana, with music and instruments from the 8th to 12th centuries.

Ensemble Lauda, Cuba. The event’s organizer –

Wednesday 17th / 7 PM / Nuestra Senora de la Merced Church

«O Ignis paracliti» by Hildegarda de Bingen, sequence to the Holy Spirit. An interpretation for voice and live electronic music.

Carmen Elvira Brigard, soprano, Colombia-

Thursday 18th / 7 PM / Espiritu Santo Church:

«The hurdy-gurdy, a thousand years of history» A journey through the repertoire of this millenary instrument in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Barroque and current day.

Xurxo Romani, hurdy-gurdy, Barcelona-

Friday 19th / 7 PM / The Old San Francisco de Paula Church

«Sanctuary Hymns» The people’s religiousness as sung by young maidens. Galician/Portuguese hymns from the 7th and 13th centuries.

Ensemble Lauda, Cuba

Saturday 20th / 7 PM / Santo Angel Custodio Church:

«Holy Monodias and Polyphonies in the 12th and 13th centuries –  Limoges’ Saint-Martial and Paris’ Notre-Dame Schools». Closing ceremony conducted by Brigitte Lesne, co-director of the French group Alla Francesca and director of the Discantus Ensemble. Performing alongside Ensemble Lauda.

Brigitte Lesne, France– 


Wednesday 17th to Saturday 20th / 10 AM – 2 PM  /

Havana’s San Geromino College

Holy Monodias and Polyphonies in the 12th and 13th centuries

 -Brigitte Lesne, France– for closing concert participants


Tuesday 16th / 3 PM / Casa Victor Hugo:

«From Liebana to Havana, reading interactions in pious manuscripts» Panel chaired by Msc. Arantxa Fernandez Crespo, Medieval Hispanic Literature professor; joined by graduate Beatriz Laffita Menocal, History of Hispanic Art professor; graduate Yailin Perez Zamora, engraver and illustrator and Mr. Esteban Donate Montesino, flute-maker and musical instrument restorer.


Tuesday 16th / 3 PM   To Sunday 21st / Casa Victor Hugo

«From Liebana to Havana» Exhibition of a selection of iconographies belonging to the most important pious illuminated manuscripts; along with a selection of pictures about a contemporary artist’s vision of bestiary, like when the pintaitriz Ende translated the Commentary on the Apocalypse by Beatus from Liebana into images.

«Extinct Sounds» Music of the Blessed, temporary exhibition of musical instrument clips belonging to different illuminated texts from the 10th and 11th centuries. A project by Henry Vidal, alongside flute-makers John Pringle, Yuri Terenyi and Proyecto Guayabo.