Marcos Balter – Descarga (2006)

A video about Descarga:

My fascination with percussion is directly related to my Brazilian heritage. I remember being mesmerized as a young child watching the enormous percussion ensembles (sometimes over one hundred percussionists) that perform during the official carnival parade in my hometown, Rio de Janeiro. I will never forget the feeling of having my whole body shaking as an involuntary resonator to such potent sounds. The experience was both physical and metaphysical.

When Sam Solomon asked me to write a new work for him, I knew immediately that I wanted to recreate that same transcendental feeling I once experienced. The challenge was to find ways of translating it into a solo piece. It was not until I watched a video with the late Tito Puente that I realized the intensity I wanted to capture had little to do with number of performers or sonic simultaneity. What I was searching for was a proximity to that dangerous zone that blends controlled and uncontrolled virtuosity, rationalized and spontaneous reactions to extremes, unpolished and refined responses to physical challenges. Only by immersing the performer in such frantic, incongruent, almost hypnotic and yet agitated mind state could I hope to convey these feeling to the audience. “Descarga” is my attempt to create such a sonic world, celebrate Sam’s artistry, and revisit my roots.
-Marcos Balter

This recording is supported by New Music USA’s CAP Recording Program, made possible by endowment funds from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and with funds from The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University.