Jesuit Music Ministry’s (JMM) cherished tradition of instrumental music for prayer and praise continues, as “Vespers 8: Pag-aalay ng Puso” launched on digital streaming platform last September 3, 2021.
A staple in retreats and contemplative prayer all over the world, the eighth edition of the acoustic guitar and flute album, offers the perfect companion for at-home reflection during the COVID 19 pandemic.
“JMM titles can always find ways to speak or relate to an album of any spiritual concept. What is crucial is that ‘vespers’ treatment—meditative flute and acoustic guitar rendition. Given the natural timbre of these instruments, a reflective atmosphere wasn’t that difficult to create,” expressed longtime Vespers flutist Jay Gomez of his latest project.
Putting together the 11-track compilation required close collaboration with Vespers 8 producer, Fr. Nemesio Que, SJ—whose “silent, yet highly effective guidance”, as Gomez described, ultimately shaped ‘Pag-Aalay ng Puso’s’ final song lineup.
“Fr. Nemy Que, narrowed down the list that had not been recorded in previous vespers releases. One guideline to consider was to not repeat a title. But during one of our Zoom meetings, Fr. Nemy told me to do a recording of ‘Be Not Afraid’,” recalled Gomez of the production process.
“Though he knew that it was already in Vespers 6, and we (myself along with JMM Director Lester Mendiola and Office Manager Rey Malipot) reminded him of that, Fr. Nemy insisted he could actually hear it as an unaccompanied flute solo—and that it had to be in this album.”
“Lester Mendiola couldn’t have convinced me more—‘if Fr. Nemy is breaking his own rules, it must be for a very good reason’. Hence, Vespers 8 has 11 tracks,” cheerfully explained Gomez.
While having been a consistent contributor himself to the Vespers series over the years, Gomez was first to acknowledge Jovencio “Bong” Rosario (Guitarist: I Beg To Fall In Love, Inay, Pag-aalay ng Puso, Nauna Na Kitang Mahalin, Pieta, Huwag Kang Mangamba, Sa Diyos Lamang Mapapanatag), Paolo Ven B. Paculan (Guitarist: Pastorale and Maging Akin Muli), Dante Sylvestre A. Gomez (Guitarist: Alalahanin, Gunitain), Adrian Nicolas Ong (Violinist: Inay), and Toto Sorioso (Sound Technician and Engineer) for their remarkable talent and dedication to the album.
Apart from his utmost gratitude to Fr. Nemesio Que, SJ, Gomez voiced his heartfelt appreciation for JMM Office manager and Project Coordinator Rey Malipot, JMM Director Lester Mendiola, and most especially JesCom Executive Director Fr. Emmanuel Alfonso, SJ who “believed in me first, before others would”.
As he recalled his own experiences with prayer while working on ‘Pag-aalay ng Puso’ during these challenging times, Gomez shared his new insights on that which we can wholeheartedly offer to our Lord.
“The little that I prayed, at the height of anxiety and pandemic, gave me mental strength and clarity. There I realized that praying is already an answer in itself. It’s a realization during the pandemic that most of us, if not all, were left with nothing to offer Him but our hearts—in full surrender,” he affirmed.
“Allow Vespers 8 to journey with you in prayer—in full surrender to the Lord.”
Stream Vespers 8 on this link: https://backl.ink/148156476