When Jesuit missionaries evangelized the Chiquitos territories in the years around 1700s, they blended Spanish Catholic practices and culture with those of the indigenous people — whom they found to be talented musicians and craftsmen. The result was a dynamic musical life: violins, cellos, harps and other instruments were made locally; choirs were formed; elaborate sacred music, both from Europe and written locally, was sung and played in elaborately decorated mission churches.
Piotr Nawrot, a Polish musicologist and priest who now lives and works in Bolivia, is leading the effort to preserve and revive the music from the Jesuit missions. There's now a biannual Misiones de Chiquitos Festival, which a CBS News reported Bob Simon and his crew visited in 2006 to meet Father Piotr and report on this extraordinary renaissance.
That report will air on CBS Sunday Morning on April 8 (check local listings for broadcast time in your area), and will be available in streaming video next week on the network's website, www.cbsnews.com (click on "CBS Sunday Morning").
Featured in the CBS segment is a Festival concert by the British period-instrument ensemble Florilegium, working with specially trained Bolivian singers. That program was recorded in the historic mission church of Concepci‹n by the Dutch label Channel Classics and is now available on volume 2 of Florilegium's "Bolivian Baroque" series of CDs.