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El País Invisible (The Invisible Nation): Inspired by Political Invisibility, Sovereignty, and the Desire for Belonging

‘A tale about an island—floating aimlessly without destination—whose citizens have not known freedom since it was first colonized’- M. Zenón

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El País Invisible Project Video

Posted on February 8, 2020 by José Antonio Zayas Cabán {Trés}
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El País Invisible World Premier Concert

Posted on December 30, 2019 by José Antonio Zayas Cabán {Trés}

Join us for our first performance of El País Invisible (The Invisible Nation) by Miguel Zenón!

El País Invisible (The Invisible Nation), by Miguel Zenón

Posted on December 30, 2019 by José Antonio Zayas Cabán {Trés}

A fictional country, an island, floats aimlessly and without destination in the middle of the ocean. Its citizen have not known freedom since they were first colonized almost 600 years ago, and ever since then they’ve been passed around – from one Empire to another – until they found themselves under the control of the most powerful Empire the world has ever known.

As a consequence, this country lives perpetually in a political Limbo. Their current colonizers have no interest on making the island part of their powerful Empire, but also discard the idea of giving the island – rich in culture and resources – more autonomy. Islanders are eternally torn between their desires to be considered equals by their colonizers, and a longing to become a free and sovereign nation, just like their ever-changing neighboring countries.

And so, the island floats on to nowhere, without allies nor freedom. Bound to its Limbo and Invisible to all.

~Miguel Zenón~


Since Hurricanes Irma and María struck Puerto Rico, our trio, {Trés}, has focused on finding ways to contribute towards different fundraising efforts (benefit concerts) and giving more of the island’s residents a voice by helping raise awareness during our performances during the island’s ongoing recovery. This year, we are continuing our efforts by taking another step forward and into the New Music arena.

This project is a collaboration between {Trés} and MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow Miguel Zenón on the subject of Invisibility, and the impact it has had, and continues to have, on the island of Puerto Rico, prior to the hurricanes all the way up to present day. The project will include both a new composition by Miguel Zenón and recording this work with Miguel Zenón as a guest artist.

This collaboration with Miguel Zenón represents our first venture into expanding our mission, as we prepare for our 2019-2020 season and our first annual residency in Puerto Rico. Our residency consists of brining free concerts to different parts of Puerto Rico, with special emphasis on working with community organizers to perform in low income areas. The composition and recording projects reflect our present values and goals as a trio, and help address the ongoing issues the island is still experiencing.

Led by (native Puerto Rican) José Antonio Zayas Cabán, the trio has rethought its concerts in order to highlight Puerto Rican culture and heritage, as well as the many concerns that continue to affect the island. {Trés} began featuring Puerto Rican music by performing a repertoire by Puerto Rican composers and, to address the post-hurricane death toll, they perform La Borinqueña, the Puerto Rican national anthem, as tribute to those who lost their lives as a result of the hurricane (La Borinqueña is played in the dark — in solidarity to those who have had to wait for power and water).

Through this project {Trés} will further their goal: to help give communities in Puerto Rico a voice, better connect them to audiences in the mainland United States and encourage them to embrace one another as belonging to the same community. Ultimately, we want to help build permanent bridges between these communities beyond the short-term nature of disaster relief to ensure that, together, we address the problem of invisibility with deeper meaningful long term connections and reciprocal awareness.

As a well-established saxophonist and composer, Miguel has been critically acclaimed (including receiving multiple Grammy nominations) for incorporating his Puerto Rican heritage into his performance and composition career. The work we are commissioning: The Invisible Island, will be written as a fictional tale about an island that floats, perpetually, in a limbo between independence and statehood. The Invisible Island will be performed during trio’s 2020 residency in Puerto Rico, and recorded in the Spring of 2020. Moreover, Miguel’s composition will form part of a long-term project to bring free music concerts, and new music, to as many communities in Puerto Rico that cannot otherwise afford to support their own programming.

Start and End Dates



Minneapolis, Minnesota

4 updates
Last update on February 8, 2020

Project Created By

Minneapolis, Minnesota
{Trés} started as a collaborative project by José Antonio Zayas Cabán and Colin Young, with the purpose of creating transcriptions for the ensemble (2 saxophones and piano) to perform. The trio has since performed chamber music by a wide range of composers (Villa Lobos, Fanny Mendelssohn, Poulenc, J.S. Bach, and Glinka) in Central America, the Caribbean, and…

In Collaboration With

New York, New York


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