Musicians of the Tenshō Embassy
March 23 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm$10 – $15
In 1582, four teenage Japanese boys of noble birth set sail from Nagasaki to Lisbon. They were students at the Jesuit school in Kyushu and were sent on a tour of Italy and Iberia as ambassadors of three Japanese daiymo, or feudal lords, who had converted to Christianity. Known collectively as the Tenshō Embassy, their names were Mancio Itō, Michael Chijiwa, Martin Hara, and Julio Nakaura. Music was an essential component of the embassy’s eight-year trip to and from Europe and played an equally essential role in the Jesuit mission in Japan, which lasted from the first Jesuit’s arrival in 1549 to the expulsion of the Jesuits by Japan’s Edo government in 1613.
History and storytelling meet in this program that explores the musical experiences of the Tenshō Embassy and their classmates at Jesuit schools in 16th and early 17th century Japan. Many of the details of their music making remain unknown, and those that are known were not recorded by the Japanese musicians themselves but rather by European Jesuits. The European Jesuits’ recording of this history exposes their eurocentrism, hubris, and ignorance, but their records also give us insight into the lives and experiences of these otherwise unknown musicians who are part of this centuries-old tradition of making music with voices and viols. Lyracle honors these musicians’ achievements through music and storytelling with short historical readings, delivered by actor Danielle Boivin, paired with works by Italian and Iberian composers including Durante Lobo, Francisco Guerrero, and Giacomo Carissimi.
Ashley Mulcahy, mezzo-soprano
James Perretta, viol
Danielle Boivin, actor
Jacob Jahiel, viol
Arnie Tanimoto, viol