Sounds of the Americas consists of four compositions for guitar and string quar tet written by some of the most unique and widely-performed composers in the United States today. As the title suggests, the works are based on subject matters born in the Americas. Sierra draws his inspiration from the tropical nights and rhythms of his native Puerto Rico (listen for the coqui frogs 2'15" into the first movement), while Frank, who is an American of Peruvian/Chinese and Lithuanian/Jewish heritage, muses about the Inca Empire's kings and rituals. Daugher ty's work is an elegy for Cuba, past and present, but instead of making use of Cuban rhythms as he did so successfully in works such as "Desi" and "I Loved Lucy," he, like Kernis, turns to American pop culture for inspiration. Kernis pays tribute to the TV Dance Shows of the 60s and 70s, while Daugher ty turns to rock and roll songs such as Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" and "Riders on the Storm" by The Doors. Some notes about the recording. For the Daugherty piece, I decided to use a pick in the last movement. I thought it sounded better and the music had a better feeling than when played with the fingers. All of the percussion sounds in the first movement of the Kernis are actually played on the instruments themselves, but in the last movement, he asks the members of the string quartet to play sandpaper blocks, a triangle, a small shaker, and bongos, and to vocally make percussion sounds as well. It is only the quartet that has to call out "Dance Party." I guess Kernis felt that the guitarist had enough going on with playing chords and percussion on the guitar while stomping with one foot on the floor! Manuel Barrueco October 2, 2008.