Argentina and Slovakia get in touch through Canada

This is a story about cultural cooperation and exchange through the Internet.

by: Hernán Mouro


The Schola Cantorum Choir which belongs to the Conservatorio Provincial de Música de Bahía Blanca (Argentina) was created in 1989 and since then is conducted by Nicolás Saveanu. The main group of the choir is formed by conservatory students. The repertoire is mainly classical music. We are a small chamber choir which inclines us towards Renaissance music.

In the spring of 1996 we started to rehearse a piece by Béla Bartók, the 'Four Slovak Folk Songs'. They are based on songs Bartók recorded in one of his musicological tours in Slovakia.

We had no idea on how to pronounce the lyrics (in Slovak) of these songs. So we thought we could search in the Internet for a Slovak person willing and eager to cooperate with us. I sent an e-mail to the first Slovak person I found when I looked up "Slovak" and "culture" with the search engines available on the net. This person (Ondro Mihal) had the lyrics recorded for us with the beautiful voice of a Slovak woman (Dagmar Holetschkeova) and sent us the audio files. It was amazing and very touching, we never thought it could be so easy to obtain not only the pronounciation but also the intonation. Now our idea is that probably all Slovak people are like Ondro Mihal: cooperative, patient, skillful (Ondro, don't delete this, please!) since he was the first person we got in touch with.

The pronounciation was studied, the songs were rehearsed and performed. Finally the recordings were sent to Ondro and here they are. We know they are far from perfect but we would like other people to share a part of this experience with Ondro and us.

Wedding Song from Poniky - in both 14.4 and 28.8 kbs Real Audio* format
Dancing Songs from Medzibrod and Ponioky - in both 14.4 and 28.8 kbs Real Audio format.
Song of the Hayharvester from Hiadel - in both 14.4 and 28.8 kbs Real Audio format.

We would like to point out that we are comfortably sitting at home in Argentina and we could get information about Slovak culture thanks to a Slovak person who is at home in Canada.

Curriculum of the conductor: Nicolás Saveanu

In 1981 graduates from the Conservatorio de Música de Bahía Blanca as Profesor Superior de Guitarra. He has conducted the Alliance Francese Choir and the Chamber Choir of the Association of English Culture of Bahía Blanca. He has attended to courses and seminars with Antonio Russo, Néstor Zadoff, Abel Carlevaro, Horacio Ceballos, Néstor Andrenacci, Francisco Kröpfl, Robert Sund (Sweden) and Carlos López Puccio. He teaches Guitar and Chamber Music in the Conservatorio de Música de Bahía Blanca (Argentina).

For Spanish version of this story and other information, check out Conservatorio de Música de Bahía Blanca in Argentina.

All contents & photographs © 1997, Hernán Mouro and Ondro Mihal.
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Comentarios en español a Hernán Mouro,
Last update on January 9, 1997.