Print this Page

World Music CD Reviews World Fusion


By Vikram Patel
Published September 22, 2005

The New Heroes

On The New Heroes, composer and multi-instrumentalist Christopher Hedge turns in this emotive and deeply-moving soundtrack inspired by the four-part PBS documentary series of the same name. The series, which aired this summer and was hosted by Robert Redford, traveled the globe to explore the ideas and impact of “social entrepreneurs,” from a Bangledeshi banker who provides collateral free micro-loans, to a founder of schools for the disabled in Egypt, to a crusader against child-slavery and forced labor in India, to men who introduced new, lost-cost water pumps to rural farmers in Kenya. In keeping with the theme, Hedge also spans the globe, both for musicians and the found sounds that appear on the album. He’s joined here by legendary flutist Paul Horn, Congolese percussionist Titos Sompa, classical Indian musicians Debopriyo Sarkar (tablas) and Alam Khan (sarod), Nepalese flautist I Sing Lama, and his longtime collaborator, violinist Julian Smedley. Together, they create a moody, low-key acoustic affair that’s punctuated by the various found “samples” that Hedge recorded with a pair of mic-ed up sunglasses. The most arresting of these sounds is that of an Indian boy, newly freed from slavery, simply stating his name.