Erasing Genres En Español: A Smoky-Voiced Jazz Singer Meets Classical Strings

Magos Herrera & Brooklyn Rider , Brooklyn Rider
All Things Considered from NPR

By Tom Huizenga

The most striking thing about Dreamers is Herrera's singular voice. It's never sounded more majestically smoky, commanding and beguiling, especially in "Tu y Yo," an aching love song set to words by Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío, architect of the so-called modernismo movement in Latin American literature.

Herrera's phrasing is supremely expressive, but what makes the album shine even brighter is the collaboration with Brooklyn Rider, a seriously eclectic string quartet. This isn't some all-purpose "carpet" of accompaniment. Brooklyn Rider's strings converse directly with Herrera. They embody characters and moods, even other instruments, such as the "drum beats" and "guitar" in violinist Colin Jacobsen's arrangement of "Balderrama" by the Argentine folk song composer Gustavo Leguizamón. A few songs on Dreamers recall the nueva canción movement in 1960s Latin America, when songwriters paired socially relevant lyrics with back-to-the-roots folk music. And at the heart of the album lies Herrera's atmospheric performance of "Volver a los 17" ("Being Seventeen Again").

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