Deep Roots, New Branches

Early Music Seattle’s Deep Roots, New Branches is a series of presentations designed to enrich your understanding of the cultural interconnectedness that forms the foundations of the world’s great music traditions.  When people moved – through forced or chosen migrations, along trade routes, or because of conquest and war – they brought their ideas, religions, and music. Educator and percussionist Antonio Gómez is our guide as we explore the human stories behind the music we hear today.

Online programs by Antonio Gómez

In the Spirit with Reginald Mobley 
January 19, 2022 Broadcast

Watch celebrated counter tenor and dedicated advocate Reginald Mobley in conversation with Antonio Gómez. Explore the common threads that weave baroque music with spirituals and jazz in a single fabric of immediacy and expression. Mobley and Gómez take a hard look at what defines Early Music (and what doesn’t) as EMS challenges assumptions and ask questions about what a more inclusive vision of Early Music might look like. From repertoire to artists, audiences and organizations – how can Early Music simultaneously anchor itself in the past while speaking to the present moment?


Ziryab: Andalusian Journeys
With Guests Ronnie Malley & Carlo Basile 
November 10, 2021 Broadcast

Antonio Gómez with Ronnie Malley & Carlo Basile Broadcast – Wednesday, November 10, 2021 Long before Mozart and his contemporaries became fascinated with the East, even before Italian city-states like Venice and Genoa became the gateways to Europe’s trade with Asia, there was a deep reciprocity across the Mediterranean from the Iberian Peninsula in the West to the eastern shores and onward to the newly-emerging, gilded city of Bagdad. In this Golden Age of Islam, which linked societies from the Indus River Valley to the Atlantic coast of Africa, incredible exchanges of knowledge took place – from science and mathematics to logic, geography and music! Join guest artist Ronnie Malley as we follow the journey of the legendary court musician Ziryab, who left the East to find a new home in the Caliphate of Al-Andalus in modern Spain. His musical influence would ripple across continents and centuries, as the Andalusian school of music impacted both medieval song in Europe and continues to this day through on-going revivals in the Middle East.

Music Across Time and Place
With Guest Ke Guo
October 6, 2021 Broadcast

Each of us discovers “early music” through a different path. Join us for a personal experience of discovery as Ke Guo shares her travels from Western classical music to Chinese traditional instruments and eventually to the centuries-long traditions of Sephardic Jewish and Iberian romances. A doctoral candidate in the School of Music at the University of Washington, Ms. Guo initially studied European classical music in China before learning the Chinese flute, dizi, and the erhu (spike fiddle). Even as her current musical practices incorporate these historic instruments along with piano and voice, she has begun study of the Japanese shakuhachi (flute) and recently began close study of Sephardic and Iberian folklore with Spain’s Paco Diez. Join us as we examine the many ways musical pursuits transport us across time and place.


Journey of the Oud, Birth of the Lute
With guests Gus Denhard and Adem Merter Birson
September 8, 2021 Broadcast

It’s all in the name…the instrument that would become central to the European renaissance and baroque era has roots in other corners of the world. Join Dr. Adem Merter Birson, musicologist, professor and Turkish oud virtuoso, along with Early Music Seattle’s own director and lutist, Gus Denhard, for a lively exploration of the Western Asian development of the oud and its journey to Europe, by way of cultural exchange and war, out of which would emerge the lute. Discover the two kindred instruments’ simultaneous and parallel journeys as they figured into the musical stories of divergent empires and cultures.



Saffron & Honey: Jews, Muslims & Christians in Medieval Spain
March 10, 2021 Broadcast

We are all too familiar with headlines of tension and conflict between Jews, Muslims and Christians in the post 9-11 world. But, what happens when we tug on the historical thread and unravel connections we never imagined? From 711 – 1492, the Arab world stretched into Europe by way of the Iberian Peninsula. Drawing from a story of personal discovery, this interactive presentation with audio, video and artifacts explores medieval Spain as a common space between the Golden Age of Islam, Sephardic Judaism, the Middle Ages and the coming Renaissance. Spain not only served as a channel for the flow of ideas and technology into a Europe parched by isolation, it would become a font of advances in science, math, poetry, music, architecture and politics that would ripple across the world. Though centuries old, this inspiring story of collaboration – and cautionary tale of conflict – could not be timelier.


Voices of Longing: Medieval Poets and Troubadours of Spain and France
March 31, 2021 Broadcast

New! Long before France or Spain became nation states, their national languages began to take shape in the shadow of the fallen Roman Empire. Through the Muslim kingdom of Al-Andalus in Spain, and by way of the Crusades, these fledgling languages interacted with the deep tradition of Arabic poetry and its courtly conceits, helping shape poetic voices, from Cordoba to Aquitaine and Occitania. With special guests Lian Caspi and Anthony Geist. (Follow-up to Saffron & Honey)


Mapping Latino Musical Migrations
April 14, 2021 Broadcast

This presentation explores the shaping of Latino musical genres and how they in turn have contributed to popular music in the USA. For this presentation we focus on the evolution of Latin American music up through the early 1900s, ranging from Mexican sones to Afro-Cuban rumba, Brazilian capoeira, Puerto Rican bomba, Panamanian mejoranera, and more!


Indomitable Spirit: Music of the African Diaspora in the Americas
May 12, 20201 Broadcast

Accompany Antonio Gomez and two guest musicians as they discuss the creative power of African heritage in shaping the music of North and South America. Discover the African roots of the banjo and learn how New Orleans, New York and Havana are kindred cities. Travel from the Mississippi Delta to Salvador, Brazil as we trace the resilience of African identity to not only endure the tragedies of the slave trade, but to become a guiding force in shaping popular culture in the Americas.

Arte & Justicia en Latinamerica
June 9, 2021 Broadcast

New! This program focuses on the long tradition of Latin American and U.S. Latino artists engaging in social change through music, dance, theater, poetry and visual art. From the Mexican muralist movement to the political critiques of Puerto Rican plena, nueva cancion in Chile, popular theater of the Chicano Movement and politicized reggaeton, we will explore how music ties to social justice struggles.


About Tony

Antonio was born in South Texas to a Chicano activist and an Italian American VISTA volunteer. Tony moved often growing up. Music and language became constant companions in decoding ever-changing cultural ecologies between South Texas, the Bay Area, and Tucson. This trajectory formed his calling to develop cultural dialogue and empathy. Tony specializes in not belonging anywhere, but making friends everywhere. Mestizaje – a mixed identity formed at the intersection of cultures – shapes his work as a musician, curator, educator, and producer. Having studied on four continents, he plays Afro-Latin, Mediterranean, and Arabic percussion. Previously a K12 teacher, he has served as an educator and curriculum writer for public television and is now the Education Manager at Tacoma Arts Live. Being a working musician is indivisible from being an educator, an arts administrator, and a parent. The same heart that draws him to teach compels him to speak through the drum.