Award-winning Jazz singer and spokesperson for the United Nations UNiTE to end violence against women campaign, Magos Herrera recently teamed up with string quartet Brooklyn Rider to record a debut collaboration entitled Dreamers. Produced by Brooklyn Rider’s violinist Johnny Gandelsman, whose production credits include Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble's Grammy-winning album Sing Me Home (2016) and music for the Ken Burns' documentary TV series The Vietnam War, Dreamers includes two poems by Octavio Paz, “Niña” and “Dreams” from “Cántaro Roto” (Broken Jug), set to music. Paz was a Mexican poet and diplomat who received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Herrera, after studying in Los Angeles and Boston, settled in New York City in 2008 where she recorded a jazz album of original songs (Distancia, 2009) and a tribute to Mexican composers from the Golden Era of the 1930s and 40s (Mexico Azul, 2011) and then collaborated with flamenco producer and guitarist Javier Limón on an album entitled Dawn (2014). For Distancia, Herrera earned a Grammy Award short-list nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

Known as a Mexican jazz singer, songwriter, producer and educator, she sings in English, Spanish and Portuguese. She has received the Berklee Latin Masters Award, was selected as one of the most important women of the year by Siempre Mujer magazine and is also a spokesperson for the United Nations "HeForShe" campaign to promote gender equality. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, Brazilian jazz drummer Alexandre Kautz.  

Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider

Brooklyn Rider is a veteran string quartet comprised of: Johnny Gandelsman, violin; Colin Jacobsen, violin; Nicholas Cords, viola; and Michael Nicolas, cello. With an eclectic repertoire that has drawn rave reviews from classical, world and rock critics, Brooklyn Rider’s music runs the gamut from Armenian folk songs to music by composers as varied as Philip Glass, Björk, Vijay Iyer and Elvis Costello. They have also explored collaborations with artists such as banjoist Béla Fleck, Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, Irish fiddler Martin Hayes and Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor.

Stay Thirsty Magazine is pleased to feature a video of Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider’s collaboration entitled “Niña,” from their album Dreamers, with music by Magos Herrera and Felipe Pérez Santiago, to showcase their exceptional talent and magnetic energy. For those who want to follow along, we have included the lyrics in both Spanish and English from the poem by Octavio Paz.


Nombras el árbol, niña.
Y el árbol crece, lento y pleno, anegando los aires,
verde deslumbramiento,
hasta volvernos verde la mirada.
Nombras el cielo, niña.
Y el cielo azul, la nube blanca, la luz de la mañana,
se meten en el pecho
hasta volverlo cielo y transparencia.
Nombras el agua, niña.
Y el agua brota, no sé dónde, baña la tierra negra,
reverdece la flor, brilla en las hojas
y en húmedos vapores nos convierte.
No dices nada, niña. Y nace del silencio la vida en una  ola de música amarilla; su dorada marea
nos alza a plenitudes,
nos vuelve a ser nosotros, extraviados.
¡Niña que me levanta y resucita!
¡Ola sin fin, sin límites, eterna!


You name the tree, girl,
and the tree grows, slow and full, flooding the air,
green glare,
until our eyes turn green.
You name the sky, girl,
and the blue sky, the white cloud, the morning light,
penetrate our chest
until it becomes heaven and transparency.
You name the water, girl,
and the water springs up, I do not know where, it bathes the black earth,
green the flower, shine on the leaves and in humid vapors it converts us.
You do not say anything, girl.
And from the silence
life on a wave of yellow music born;
and in its golden tide it raises us to plenitudes, it is us again, lost.

“Niña” from Dreamers

(Photo credit: Shervin Lainez)


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