Musical production pays tribute to Esteban


Esteban and The Children of the Sun was presented October 3, 2021, at  the Englert Theatre in Iowa City, Iowa. Offered as a "musical suite," the performance used the book  Esteban: The African Slave Who Explored America as one of "the first resources" relied on by late composer John Rapson in his research. 

     It ws a multi-media presentation by 14 musicians. Writer and spoken-word artist Caleb "The Negro Artist" Rainey offered contemporary insights and reflections through a series of dialogues interspersed with the Rapson-compoded tunes performed by 13 musicians of Mektoub Arkestra. That description of the production comes from the Esteban and The Children of the Sun website.

     In referring to Esteban's arrival in 1539 at a Zuni Pueblo, today's Pueblo Indians in New Mexico have memorialized Esteban by saying, "The first white man our people saw was a black man."

     "John Rapson was drawn to the story," writes Eric Neel in the linear notes for the album, Esteban and The Children of the Sun, "because its recovery and retelling might enrich our understanding of the story of America in all its imperfect collaborative origins."

     Tara McGovern, one of the musicians of Mektoub Arkestra (fiddle and vocals) said John Rapson wrote the performance arrangements. John Rapson was a noted composer, musician, and university professor who died in July, 2021.


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