November 27, 2021


Only The Finest Women

A striking debut by Recap, four young women percussionists of color : Deceptive Cadence : NPR

The percussion ensemble Recap has unveiled its striking debut album, Rely to 5.

Jacob Blickenstaff

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Jacob Blickenstaff

The percussion ensemble Recap has launched its putting debut album, Count to Five.

Jacob Blickenstaff

The story commences in a New Jersey elementary school, wherever 4 young women of color — Aline Vasques, Alexis Carter, Tiahna Sterling and Arlene Acevedo — ended up all most effective close friends. In middle college they began studying percussion collectively with Joe Bergen, a member of the Mantra Percussion ensemble. They ongoing by way of significant college and graduated from Mantra’s Youth Percussion Program. Now, at ages 19 and 20 — still mentored by Bergen — they’ve shaped Recap and unveiled Rely to Five, an superb debut album.

These young girls, and their new recording, signify very little significantly less than a paradigm change in the area of percussion, exactly where ensembles have prolonged been populated virtually solely by guys. In addition, all the audio on Count to Five is by girls composers. Acevedo, talking about the new album on the net, said, “We want to demonstrate the globe that anybody can do this. We’re younger females of color undertaking this and you can much too.”

Just about every of the 6 items on the album establishes a distinctive seem planet. On Hammers, Sterling doubles as a flutist, deftly negotiating the jagged rhythms that interlock with various dimensions of drums played by her colleagues. The music is by Allison Loggins-Hull, who comes about to be Sterling’s flute professor at Montclair Point out University.

The album is anchored by Lesley Flanigan’s Hedera, a mesmerizing and astonishingly meditative 20-moment do the job. Recap, on bass drums and tom-toms, lays down a pulsating foundation. In excess of leading, the composer’s voice floats like pastel-colored clouds, rising in density.

Percussion just isn’t only about banging on drums. The album’s title track, by Puerto Rican composer Angélica Negrón, sounds like you’ve got opened up a dusty box of home things — and memories. Participating in cards get shuffled, bubble wrap is squeezed, wine glasses are struck and chairs get dragged throughout the flooring although a harmonica repeats a single note. Memory also performs a component in “Samar’s Tune” by Mary Kouyoumdjian. Her voice — backed by violin, vibraphone and bass drum – pours out in grieving tones to keep in mind the tale of 5-yr-outdated Samar Hassan, whose mom and dad turned civilian casualties right before her eyes through the Iraq War.

Two the latest Pulitzer-successful composers, Ellen Reid and Caroline Shaw, add to Count to 5. Reid’s shimmering Dread / Launch twirls like a kaleidoscope of shiny metal, although Shaw looks back in time with the track “Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown.” She borrows terms from an previous 19th century hymn, one particular that’s also been recorded by the likes of George Jones. But the track assumes a new identity when Recap normally takes to marimbas, backed with delicate colorings of strings, piano and clarinets by the new music ensemble Transit. Shaw retains the aged-world experience, but in this rendition the track feels extra like an incantation than anything to be sung in church.

With this spectacular debut, the users of Recap see on their own as role types for other young ladies fascinated in percussion. And now, they’re all off to college or university — but oddly none are majoring in percussion. Still, for the time being, they simply want to continue on enjoying with each other, strengthening that longstanding bond of tunes amongst close friends.