Video Premiere: Bryan Senti’s “Mantra” Performed by ACME

For composer and violinist/violist Bryan Senti, working with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) on his latest album felt like a “homecoming.” And as long-time collaborators, their ease of communication is palpable in the music video for “Mantra,” one of the nine tracks on Senti’s new album, Manu.

With a career in film, TV, concert music, and experimental pop, Manu is Senti’s most ambitious crossover project to-date, combining his Western classical training with the Indigenous folk music of his Colombian and Cuban heritage. This fusion of influences was partially sparked by becoming a father in 2020. Reflecting on his own childhood after the birth of his first child, Senti says that he wished he had learned to “cherish both a Hispanic and American identity equally” earlier in life.

Bryan Senti--Photo by Jacob Boll

Bryan Senti–Photo by Jacob Boll

Here’s what Bryan had to say about the album:

Manu leans towards the story of my mother, embracing a female energy, a “madre naturaleza” spirit. But a few tracks at the middle of the record call upon my father. My father, who passed away in 2016, was from Havana. For anyone who’s ever been to Cuba or is familiar with the people, they know there’s a salt-of-the-earth air of sensuality and nostalgia in the culture. I imagine my father back there as a young boy or man, mischievous and yet spiritual (he would later become a reverend). That paradox comes alive for me in “Mantra.”

Jared Malik Royal’s video for “Mantra” captures this air of sensuality through intimate tactile connections to the natural wood of the string instruments. This earthy physicality takes the form of additive pizzicato textures and plinking col legno strikes that give way to sultry swaying glissandi before erupting into a rhythmic chorus of hollow knocks on the bodies of the instruments.

Manu is out June 24, 2022 on Naïve Records, and you can pre-order/pre-save the album here.

About Bryan Senti

Bryan Senti is based in Los Angeles. Recent collaborations include projects with Dustin O’Halloran and Peter Gregson for Deutsche Grammophon. His film and TV career began with Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter in 2014 and since then, he has worked on multiple films and TV shows including the BAFTA winning series “Save Me” (2021) by Lennie James. Currently he’s scoring the BBC 3 musical “Mood” by Nicôle Lecky. In addition to working on classical music, Senti’s experimental pop project Ex Mykah is signed to the London-based Kowloon Records and his LP 16, 17 was released in 2018. He also collaborated with Mark Ronson on his production Carbon Life, performed by the Royal Ballet, and has toured and recorded for the Canadian singer-songwriter Feist. Senti received a master’s in music composition from The Yale School of Music in 2009.

About the American Contemporary Music Ensemble

Over the past fifteen years, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) has risen to the highest ranks of American new music through a mix of meticulous musicianship, artistic vision, engaging collaborations, and unwavering standards in every regard. The membership of the collective includes some of the brightest young stars in the field. NPR calls them “contemporary music dynamos,” and Strings reports, “ACME’s absorbing playing pulsed with warm energy. . . Shared glances and inhales triggered transitions in a flow so seamless it seemed learned in a Jedi temple.” ACME was honored by ASCAP during its 10th anniversary season in 2015 for the “virtuosity, passion, and commitment with which it performs and champions American composers.”
The ensemble has performed at leading international venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, BAM, The Kennedy Center, Washington Performing Arts, UCLA’s Royce Hall, Chicago’s, and Sydney Opera House, and at festivals including the Sacrum Profanum Festival in Poland, All Tomorrow’s Parties in England, Auckland Arts Festival in New Zealand, Summer Nostos Festival in Greece, Boston Calling, and Big Ears.


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