In Christmas Fantasies, the acclaimed harpist Roberto Perera strikes a perfect balance between Latin rhythms and the classic music of Christmas. The musical arrangements have an enormous number and variety of influences, many coming from the diversity of Perera and his group themselves.
Perera is backed up by his veteran conjunto: percussionist Rafael Solano, Abel Pabon on the keyboards, Juan Areco on guitar, bassist Nicky Orta and Archie Peña. Perera explains, "The many opportunities we've had to interpret and record music together have made us into a real unit, yet we all come from different countries - the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, the U.S., Venezuela and Uruguay. Our different cultures and experiences give us a multi-faceted musical vision which our long association with each other allows us to express comfortably in the studio."
"Winter Wonderland" incongruously but effectively dressed up in a merengue rhythm and the salsa of "The Christmas Song" show Perera's total affinity with the energy and harmony of the Caribbean. Other selections are regional standards little known and heard outside Latin America - the classic Venezuelan "Niño Lindo" and "La Peregrinación" of Argentine folklore, for example. Overall, Perera sought to bring northern holiday music south, and vice versa. Recording in the heat of August, the project was conceived more as a venture in classical music than just Christmas songs.
Perera personally felt this to be the best recording he had made to that point in his career. Given the critical acclaim accorded his previous two recordings for Heads Up, this was some statement. Not just another seasonal throw-off, Christmas Fantasies contains music that can bring cheer to its listeners all year round.