The Luna Quartet will be playing a benefit show Jan. 27 at Toronto’s Scarboro Missions chapel. Photo courtesy of the Luna Quartet

Benefit show raises awareness of disappearing language

  • January 19, 2013

TORONTO - Music, the universal language, is coming to the rescue of Macuxi, an endangered, disappearing language.

The Luna Quartet will play music by Mozart, Piazzola and the string quartet’s violist Juliana Vertematti at a Jan. 27 afternoon concert at Scarboro Mission chapel in Toronto. The concert hopes to raise awareness and a little money for native people of the upper Amazon who are fighting to keep their language alive.

Scarboro Missioner Father Ron Macdonell has worked with the Macuxi in Roraima, northern Brazil, for the past two decades. A linguist by training, Macdonell has published collections of Macuxi legends, a Macuxi dictionary and helped the Macuxi launch radio programs that teach young people their own language.

Macdonell will speak about his work and the people he works with at the benefit concert.

For the musicians of the young Luna Quartet, using music to support one of the 2,500 endangered languages of the world is more than an opportunity to play.

“If you’re not working for money, you should work for a purpose,” said first violinist Claudia Bergeron.

Musically the Luna Quartet is all about diversity — diversity of repertoire and the diversity within the group itself, said Vertematti.

Vertematti and cellist Fabiana Iko are Brazilian. Bergeron and second violinist Rebecca Kurtis- Pomeroy are French and English Canadians respectively. Their musical educations are as varied as their backgrounds.

“We like to explore different styles,” said Kurtis-Pomeroy.

Given that the inspiration for the concert is a Brazilian native people, the concert will open with Vertematti’s Jubaiao, an exploration of dance rhythms from northern Brazil.

The concert is free. A collection will be taken up in support of the Scarboro Mission’s work in Brazil.


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