Back to the earth

By JON GARELICK  |  January 30, 2007

“Bendiciones” (“Blessings”) is the most overtly political piece on the album, and it was the most difficult for Mili to write. Inspired by the protests by migrant workers and other “illegals” last May 1, it becomes a litany: “Blessings to those who don’t kill, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t cheat, don’t take away, don’t abuse, don’t fear, don’t push.” It begins with Dan’s somber bass solo before establishing what he calls a “Come Together” groove, then moves through changes in key (minor to major) and various rhythms, settling on the shifting accents of the dancelike Uruguayan candombe rhythm. Mili: “The obvious lyric, the obvious political content, could have been really bad if my melody and my harmony weren’t evolved enough. It was a matter of combining these words — too many of them!” The candombe kicks in with her litany as the tempo picks up, Ray takes a flying solo, and call-and-response vocals take it out. She says of the writing, “It was nerve-racking because we knew there was something coming. I had this urgency, really this urgency, and this is where my privilege comes: I can do what I do because I don’t need anything. I don’t want anything. I have it. Here.”

MILI BERMEJO | Berklee Performance Center, 136 Mass Ave, Boston | February 6 | 8:15 pm | $5 | 617.747.2261

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