Contreras composed Lucha Libre!, his love letter to Mexican freestyle wrestling, as a commission while serving as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) Sound Investment composer-in-residence during the 2019-20 season. The work also marks his conducting debut: The album was recorded in 2021 with the Jalisco-based Orquesta Latino Mexicana, which Contreras founded two years prior, and released by Universal Music Mexico in 2022.
“Lucha Libre! is a musical battle between 6 soloists that play from their usual seating places in the orchestra,” Contreras was quoted in a press release about the nomination. “The soloists personify 3 rudos (bad guys) and 3 técnicos (good guys) that face off as luchadores from opposing teams. For this piece, I invented my own luchador characters, and my wife Marisa designed their masks. Each luchador has their own melodic theme, which embodies its unique personality. The soloists play these themes, while wearing their luchador masks, to battle against each other.”
Watch a performance of Lucha Libre! below.
Lucha Libre! marks Contreras’ second Latin Grammy nomination, his first being for orchestral work Mariachitlán for Best Arrangement in 2019.
See the full list of nominees at the Grammys website.
The 24th Annual Latin Grammy Awards is scheduled for Nov. 16 at the FIBES Conference and Exhibition Centre in Seville, Spain.
Related: Read more about Lucha Libre! and Contreras’ work in Issue 12 of The Pool.