Review: Magos Herrera & Brooklyn Rider: Dreamers

Magos Herrera & Brooklyn Rider
Latin Jazz Network

Editor’s Pick · Featured Album · Magos Herrera & Brooklyn Rider: Dreamers

By Raul da Gama

You can now declare Magos Herrera to be one of the greatest contemporary interpreters of song. Her consummate and sultry contralto is pitch-perfect and she has both the voice and the artistry to interpret traditional South American repertoire, which she sings in Spanish and Portuguese (as well as in English) here on this breathtakingly beautiful album, Dreamers. Why is this hour-long disc that feels like an epic such a triumph? Clearly it is first and foremost Miss Herrera’s atmospheric singing; moreover it is also the fact that she turns the elemental heartache of a whole generation of South American Dreamers into anthems that herald their journey away from social and political repression into the promise of freedom and the triumph of human endeavour in the United States. The fact that the American administration of 2018 is trying its best to destroy the dream makes these songs of longing all the more poignant, and who better than Miss Herrera to turn all this pain into joy sublimated in the smokiness of her vocal ardour?

These are benchmark performances of classic music, brilliantly sung from end to end by Miss Herrera assisted with orchestral finesse by Brooklyn Rider, the string quartet comprising four esteemed New York chamber musicians each of whom turn in flawless performances in ensemble as well as through the occasional breakaway cadenza. Miss Herrera begins the recording with a superb original composition “Niña” that brings the plight of the children to light, their anguish assuming extraordinary proportions in the context of the recent brutal separation of children from the parents of asylum-seekers who entered the US from across its border with Mexico. Her English-language song “Dreams” is just as heartbreakingly beautiful as is the song “Tú y Yo”.

Read the full review here.