López, Montgomery + Contreras
live BROADCAST on FRIday, JANUARY 1 AT 6:30 P.M.



christopher oscar peña SCREENWRITER



From screenwriter christopher oscar peña:
“when James Darrah and LACO asked me to write a new script to premiere on new year’s day, inspired by these three beautiful pieces of music and Juan Pablo Contreras’ curation, all i could do is take a deep breath. i felt the collective exhaustion our country has been feeling after what we will simply call 2020. and then, after exhaling, i thought of opportunity. i thought of hope. i thought of new beginnings. i thought it was time for us to go back to the beginning and build new myths for ourselves. ‘cantu in the underworld’ for close quarters’ episode five is about breaking the cycle so many of us find ourselves trapped in, and daring to imagine new realities for our future.”

Read christopher’s script cantu in the underworld- LACO episode 5.

“Ccantu” pays homage to the fleeting beauty of the Cantuta, the national flower of Peru. Also known as the sacred flower of the Incas, it was widely used and considered holy during the Inca Empire. It is said that when the Inca, the maximum ruler of the Empire, participated in a ceremony, the path through which he would be carried was fully adorned with flowers of Cantuta. Its importance cannot be underestimated; it was consecrated to the Sun god, their most important deity, and because of its beauty, it was cultivated all throughout the Inca Empire. I chose to use its original name in Quechua, the language of pre-Hispanic Peru, because of its strong association with ancient Peruvians. The piece progresses according to the stages of flower growth. At the beginning we witness its germination. Short-lived phrases and arpreggiated chords represent the docile awakening of the seed from a world still devoid of light, to the first rays of sun. The next stage, growth, is symbolized by a more agitated texture. Its growth is not linear; instead, it pulses, sometimes growing quickly, sometimes somewhat slowly and quietly. Its climatic stage, flowering, is here symbolized by a slow moving theme treated in a fugue-like manner. Its continuous ascending curve carries us along by means of fast figurations on the left hand, which embody the living energy that emerges from below the surface and into the culminating stage of flower growth. At the peak, the piano is heard in its highest, lowest and medium register representing the bush of Cantuta in full bloom. Its flower, however, is shortlived and after dispersing its seeds (sparse chords on the piano) it dies away, ready to start the cycle of life anew.

–Jimmy Lopez © 2011


Voodoo Dolls was commissioned in 2008 and choreographed by the JUMP! Dance Company of Rhode Island, a collaborative work among their faculty and students.  The choreography was a suite of dances, each one representing a different traditional children’s doll: Russian dolls, marionettes, rag dolls, Barbie, voodoo dolls… The piece is influenced by west African drumming patterns and lyrical chant motives, all of which feature highlights of improvisation within the ensemble.

–Jessie Montgomery


Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Villages) describes the daily life in a Mexican pueblo. Its 24-hour depiction, in three movements, is a metaphor for the circle of life, where all things live, die, and live again. The smell of morning dew at the “Madrugada” (“First Light”) marks the beginning of a new day in a Mexican pueblo. Its hardworking people find their rhythm in their daily chores.

In the afternoon, a rustic violin awakes the pueblo from their traditional siesta, playing “Canciones Lejanas” (“Distant Songs”). Gradually, other musicians join in, singing Mexican boleros and rancheras about love and loss. They joyfully serenade the pueblo, while its people conclude their daily activities and gather around the plaza before “La Fiesta” (“The Party”) begins.

At nightfall, a trumpet fanfare announces the fireworks display that will start the celebration. After the show, the pueblo’s brass band plays its energizing tunes that create an infectious dance atmosphere. Couples dance, in a close embrace, and people sing along with the music, as night turns into day and the life cycle begins anew.

–Juan Pablo Contreras