About This Episode
Inspired by the Ecuadoran huashayo, an individual appointed to hire musicians for a special celebration, Western classical composer Gabriela Frank — a member of the multicultural Silk Road Ensemble — decided to recreate a traditional Western composition and use only South America's native instruments. The resulting piece, "Compadre Huashayo," is a lively and intriguing cultural blend of tone and style.
The documentary Compadre Huashayo follows Frank to local villages for inspiration, the workshopping of ideas across two continents, rehearsals with the 40-member ensemble La Orquesta de Instrumentos Andinos (Orchestra of Andean Instruments), the collaboration with Chilean conductor Alejandra Urrutia, and the sold-out opening night in the Ecuadoran capital of Quito. In interviews, Gabriela speaks about the challenges of scoring a symphony made up entirely of indigenous instruments while orchestra members discuss the undertaking and deeper meaning behind the project.