Lauren Caggiano
Freelance Writer
November 12, 2014 // Local

Traditional chant blends with new technology

Lauren Caggiano
Freelance Writer

By Lauren Caggiano

FORT WAYNE — A new project from local artist Fernando Tarango is a marriage of the sacred and traditional with modern recording technology.

“Dream Rodeo,” a meditation and chant album, is part of the producer’s world music project, whose goal is to record traditional music from around the world and set it to modern music production, tying in the old with the new.

Tarango, a Bishop Luers High School graduate, has made quite a name for himself in the music world. Recording artist, songwriter, actor, composer and producer, he has been seen or heard on national commercials for Old Spice, Southern Comfort, Anthem Blue Cross and Olay, has performed with national orchestras and toured the world with Grammy-Award winning artists.

Despite all this fame, he is not too proud to return to his musical roots.

“I grew up singing in a boy choir, and traditional music has always been in my training. Marrying the traditional with new recording technology is what this project is about,” said Tarango.

The “Dream Rodeo” project was conceived years later, when Tarango met local producer Jon Gillespie, who shared his musical ambitions. The two formed a creative union, and have worked together since.

“Dream Rodeo” is a 33-album project, each album representing a different culture or geographical region. Each album has a different vocalist, and each is in a different language.

Tarango’s album is rooted in the concept of the Gregorian chant, which according to Gillespie is “gorgeous, powerful music, that has been around for centuries.” Tarango curated the chants based on the recommendations of fellow performer-friends.

This project is just as much about embracing an aspect of Church history, as it is about preserving culture. “There is a generation of people that has not been exposed to music that matters,” Gillespie said. “This is endangered music that has been preserved in a way modern audiences can relate to.”

The challenge was to put the music in a modern context, while preserving the cultural integrity of the composition. For example, they embraced a technique of maintaining youthful and innocent sounding voices. There is also a great deal of layering — overdubbing of vocals and maintaining a distance from the microphone to create a specific sound, Fernando said.

The presentation was just as much a part of the creative process as the technical aspect.

“The pieces are three to eight minutes long, a slower development to explore the possibilities of space and emotions,” Tarango said. “You can listen in solitude to put yourself in a (mental) space — whatever that is.” Some possibilities include Eucharistic Adoration, devotion, reflection and relaxation.

Tarango said he hopes people from all faiths and cultures can find hope and peace in his work.

“You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate Gregorian chant,” he said.

Gillespie echoed this comment: “The power of the music transcends the literal. You don’t have to know what the singer is saying to understand the message.”

For more information about “Dream Rodeo” and to purchase the digital album, visit



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