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Lauren Keiser Music Publications / jfhl / 00379635

Caminantes (Score)

Ricardo Lorenz

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These are the facts: About 1.9 million Venezuelans have fled their collapsing nation since 2015 in one of the largest migrations in the world in recent years. The most desperate cannot afford a bus or plane ticket, and so they risk their lives to escape on foot. On average, at the peak of this unprecedented exodus, more than 650 migrants would start on the walk out of Venezuela every day. This crisis is still ongoing. Venezuelans are still rushing illegally across the border into Colombia, frequently encountering armed criminals. They are walking for miles along roads, carrying their belongings. They wrap themselves in blankets, bracing against the cold of frigid mountains.

Latin America’s largest migration in recent years is driven by hyperinflation, violence, and food and medicine shortages stemming from recent years of political turmoil. Once-eradicated diseases like cholera and malaria have returned, and children increasingly are dying of causes related to hunger and malnutrition. An estimated more than 1.1 million people have settled in Colombia, nearly 506,000 in Peru, 288,000 in Chile, 221,000 in Ecuador, 130,000 in Argentina, and 96,000 in Brazil. About 300,000 Venezuelans are in the United States and more than 255,000 in Spain, according to the U.N. International Organization on Migration.

Caminantes -- in English, hikers or walkers -- explores the different emotional stages undergone by any one of the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who decide to walk to the border between Venezuela and Colombia and continue hiking in the hope of finding a hospitable place that offers basic human rights and opportunities. As a Venezuelan emigrant myself, fortunate to have been welcomed into the United States almost 40 years ago, I empathize deeply with each of those Venezuelans seeking the future they lost all hope of having in their country. Under very different circumstances, I have gone through similar emotions: the hunch that it is time to leave; the feeling of hope challenged by great uncertainty; immense longing for those who remain in Venezuela; acceptance; and the recurring dream of one day being able to return.

I am deeply moved by the support and empathy expressed by every conductor who joined this consortium commission. I am indebted to each one of them, most especially to Thomas Verrier, whose understanding and passion towards all-things Venezuelan made the composition and premiere of Caminantes possible.

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Category: Concert Band
Level: 5

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