World & Latin

VOICES Notes and news on World & Latin releases

Music For A Troubled Era

17 OCT 08 JOHN C. BRUENING

In the aftermath of 9/11, the Indonesian tsunami, Katrina and other man-made and natural tragedies of the new millennia, flautist Nestor Torres - like the rest of us - sought to make sense out of the senseless. The result of this effort was Dances Prayers & Meditations for Peace, his 2006 release on Heads Up.

The album is Torres' musical appeal to humanity's better angels, his call for people everywhere to rise above the petty distractions that separate us and embrace the universal elements that unite us.

The Latin Grammy-winner and Grammy-nominee invoked the muse for this project by travelling to New York to meditate and perform in various houses of worship near Ground Zero. The idea was to make himself "a conduit for whatever energy was present in the city at the time, and channel it into music that could transform grief into acceptance, anger into courage, and despair into hope. From those improvisational performances emerged the songs on this album."

The album is a multi-genre and multicultural experience, from the Middle Eastern sensibilities of "Human Revolution" to the hip-hop backbeat of "Peace With Myself." "Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law" is built on a Buddhist chant, while "Medicine Man" crosses Native American drumbeats with Sufi melodies.

"This is the truest and most honest record I have ever made," said Torres at the time of the album's release. "My entire recording career has led me to this moment. The music speaks for itself."