The event is sponsored by the Banners Cultural Series at McNeese State University and the Calcasieu Parish Public Library System.
The concert is designed for music lovers of all ages, according to Lonny Benoit, a member of Chaac Percusiones Mexico. “So bring the little ones,” he said. “They’ll love it.”
The percussive group formed in 2005 after members worked together on a project at the University of Arts and Science in New Mexico researching the sounds, instruments and traditions of music from the pre-Hispanic cultures in the Mexico area. These cultures, called Mesoamerica, are mainly Mayan and Aztec.
Members recreated instruments based on written records and hieroglyphics in museums. “We’re using a lot of clay drums, some log drums and many types of whistles and rattles,” Benoit said. “And after the concert we will invite people up to take a close look.”
The music is percussive and the melody derived from the different pitches of the clay drums. The concert will be only 50 minutes long – very short by pre-Hispanic standards. “It was used in rituals and dance ceremonies and when people were calling on the gods,” Benoit said. “Sometimes the drumming would last for days.”
The trio playing at Central Library is the North American contingent of the larger group of Chaac Percusiones Mexico that plays in Mexico. In addition to Benoit, the other members of the trio are Dr. Tom Nevill and David Lopez, both faculty at the University of Texas, Brownsville.
Chaac will also perform in five K-12 schools as part of the Banners Series outreach program. The schools are Our Lady Queen of Heaven School, Our Lady’s School, E.K. Key Elementary, Holy Family School and Frasch Elementary. The Banners outreach program is funded by Citgo Petroleum Co. and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.