“The New Immigrant Experience,” composed by 2018 Guggenheim Fellow and UMass Amherst music professor Felipe Salles, will be released on Friday, March 20 on Tapestry Records. The two CD/DVD set, which features the 18-piece Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble, is a powerful new multimedia work inspired by the lives of “Dreamers,” the almost 700,000 individuals currently protected by DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This is the eighth release by Salles, an internationally renowned composer and performer who emigrated from Brazil to the United States in 1995. “DownBeat” Magazine gives the new recording 4.5 stars out of 5, and places the new work in near “masterpiece” territory. The work also received national airplay on a recent broadcast of NPR’s “Alt.Latino” program.
“The New Immigrant Experience,” which was developed with the aid of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, uses speech cadences and melodic motifs based on key words as its main sources of musical material. The compelling and personal stories on which the work is based were collected through interviews Salles conducted with a group of nine Dreamers during the summer of 2018, conversations which were captured on video by filmmaker Fernanda Faya. These powerful stories of growing up bilingual and undocumented heavily influenced Salles’ musical choices in creating the new work.
“The New Immigrant Experience” was premiered in April 2018 at the historic Old Chapel at UMass Amherst as well as the National Sawdust Theater in New York City. The subsequent recording combines music with video excerpts from those interviews, creating an experience that gives full-throated voice to immigrant groups in the United States today.
Salles will celebrate the release of this groundbreaking multimedia work with a performance on Friday, April 10 at 8 p.m. at the Northampton Center for the Arts. Tiickets and information are available on the Northampton Center for the Arts website. A full performance of the work will also take place at National Sawdust in New York on April 8.