The Ballad of the Brown King - A Christmas Cantata

Presented by Musikiwest

Cover image of the first publication of the Ballad of The Brown King

Musikiwest presents a poignant and profound holiday celebration concert  featuring the Christmas Cantata “Ballad of The Brown King” (1954) by black female composer, Margaret Bonds. Bonds produced The Ballad of the Brown King with her longtime professional collaborator and close personal friend, Langston Hughes, who supplied the libretto. The Ballad tells the nativity story with an emphasis on King Balthazar, one of the Three Magi, who has been described as African or dark-skinned in legends and artistic representations dating back to the Middle Ages. This rarely performed multi-part choral work captures the story of Balthazar, one of the Magi of the “We Three Kings” fame.  Bonds wrote in a 1961 letter about the Ballad, “I honestly want the propaganda of this piece spread all over the world.” This is almost certainly a central coast premier of The Ballad of The Brown King. Limited seating available for 2 shows on Sunday December 3rd in SandBox, Sand City. This arrangement you will hear is made. by Malcolm Merriweather. 

Also on this stunning program:

Source Code for string quartet by Jessie Montgomery

Elegy for String Quartet by Carlos Simon

Selections from String Quartet in a minor by Florence Price

Price Range:

Program Items

Margaret Bonds and Langston Hughes The Ballad of The Brown King - Christmas Cantata
Jessie Montgomery Source Code
Carlos Simon Elegy
Florence Price quartet in a minor


Leberta Loral soprano
Aisha Campbell alto
Kalil Wilson tenor
Bryan Dyar bass
Tammy Hall organ
Nancy Zhou violin
Daniel Dastoor violin
Jonathan Vinocour viola
Michelle Djokic cello
Antonio Escobedo contrabass
Molly Langr harp