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O Bando de Surunyo - "Ai dina dina dana"

Portuguese baroque music for Christmas - 1st CD by early music ensemble "O Bando de Surunyo"

About the project

Portuguese baroque music for Christmas - 1st CD by "O Bando de Surunyo"


O Bando de Surunyo is an early music ensemble based in Oporto, Portugal. Our mission statement is to study, perform and promote music from Portuguese 16th and 17th century sources. A great part of our attention and energy has been devoted to the music produced in one of the most thriving intellectual, cultural and religious centres of the Iberian Peninsula at the time: Santa Cruz monastery in Coimbra (Portugal). The greater part of the music written in the monastery is held today by the General Library of the University of Coimbra and is one of the most important treasures of European intangible cultural heritage. Of particular importance is a collection of 16 volumes compiled during the 1640s and 50s. Over 2500 manuscript pages display hundreds of pieces of extraordinary richness and diversity, the vast majority of which remains as yet unpublished and unperformed.

The CD we wish to record with your help is the natural result of three years nurturing a close intimacy with the music from Santa Cruz, coupled with the experience gained from the many concerts we have devoted entirely to it. Of the vast amount of repertoire we have covered, we chose Christmas music for our recording debut. This religious celebration was extremely important in 17th century Iberian culture and is thus strongly represented by many works of the collection. This fresh and luminous music of deeply moving beauty exhibits the highest standards of composition and poetry, making it fully worthy of being rescued from the obstinate silence in which it has remained for more than 350 years.

email: [email protected]


What are the funds for?

Recording a CD is an operation involving complex logistics and a demanding management of human and technical resources. Ai dina, dina, dana will be recorded over a period of 6 days (21-22 and 26-29 December 2019) by a team of 20 people consisting of musicians, production team and audio engineers. All contributions made to this campaign will be entirely channelled to fund this recording.

By giving us your kind support, you become active members of our team in its effort to discover and preserve an important and little known part of our collective intangible heritage. By lending voice to this glistening and exciting music, we not only rescue it from centuries of unjust oblivion but also bring to light new information of the utmost importance in deepening our understanding of the history of European 17th century music.

About the project owner





O Bando de Surunyo is an early music ensemble specialised in the performance of 16th and 17th century music. The name comes from a Portuguese villancico de negro written in the 1640’s meaning “a chattering of starlings”. The ensemble is the performative and laboratorial front of a multidisciplinary project which focuses mainly on unpublished and unknown repertoire from Portuguese sources; since its creation, O Bando de Surunyo has performed over 30 pieces as modern premiers. The project has, nevertheless, a wider scope, having as its main goal to deliver to nowadays’ audiences the plurality, eclecticism and richness of European Renaissance and Baroque thought and music. 

The intimate relation between word and sound that emerged in the transition from the fifteen to the sixteen hundreds is the central axis for O Bando de Surunyo’s approach to the study and performance of the repertoire. Music then placed itself at the service of the text, conveying, illustrating and enhancing the latter’s poetic and affective content. The eloquent and efficacious communication of this content in its multiple readings and functions - literal, theatrical, historical, symbolical, religious, political and philosophical - constitutes the basis for the construction of an interpretative conception which persues today the same rhetorical goal that it did at the time: to both amuse and move the audience through word, gesture and sound. In Cicero’s famous words: doceredelectaremovere. The whole project therefore aims at a wide aesthetical and communicative reach, which, using historical instruments and performance practices, aspires to a result that is both artistically and emotionally meaningful for contemporary audiences.


About our team

O Bando de Surunyo is made up of an eclectic team of musicians, blending the experience of specialists in the performance of renaissance and baroque music with the freshness of young promising singers. Our interpretative approach is therefore solidly supported by historical performance practices while, at the same time, an important space is granted for experimentation and new perspectives on 17th century music.

All our musical and artistic endeavours are upheld by thorough study of the sources with music in romance languages from Santa Cruz monastery. This research is hosted by the Centre for Classical and Humanistic Studies of the University of Coimbra through its project Mundos e Fundos - Methodological and Interpretative Worlds of Music Collections. Our research reveals a cultural reality that is profoundly different from the one we live in nowadays but which constitutes, nevertheless, an ineludible part of our history. This deep immersion into the cultural and performative context of the time, allows us to discover and befittingly perform music which, although product of a now distant past, maintains today the ability to surprise, amuse and move us. 


About the artistic director

The project and ensemble are coordinated and directed by Hugo Sanches. 
Hugo holds a PhD in Musical Studies from the University of Coimbra, MMus and BMus in Performance (Early Music) from the Oporto College of Music (ESMAE), and a PgD in Music Psychology from the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Oporto.
Hugo has over 15 years’ experience as a free-lance performer specialized in baroque and renaissance music, maintaining a regular schedule of public concerts as soloist, ensemble musician and director. He is currently guest professor at ESMAE, teaching performance on historical plucked string instruments (lute, theorbo, vihuela, etc.), chamber music, renaissance music consort and historical theory and performance practice. He is also a member of the faculty of Polyphonia, an innovative post-graduate degree in advanced studies in polyphony. He is an integrated researcher at the Centre of Classical and Humanistic Studies of the University of Coimbra where his work focuses mainly on the study of the 17th century musical manuscripts held by the university’s General Library. The laboratorial front of this research is the ensemble O Bando de Surunyo, founded by Hugo in 2015. On the academic front, apart from regular conferences on 17th century music, poetics and rhetoric, a series of articles about the music in Santa Cruz monastery is currently in preparation, together with a critical edition of over 40 unpublished pieces.


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