This is a track from The Imagine Project, an international recording featuring collaborations between Herbie Hancock and musicians from every region of the planet. "It's a record that's basically about peace," explained Hancock to Billboard magazine. "To me the path towards peace is through global collaboration, so the heart of this record is the idea of making a global record or an international record, in multiple languages and in a variety of places."
This song is a piece by Larry Klein, Hancock's producer on his 2008 Grammy Award album of the year River: The Joni Letters. Klein adapted it from a poem by Bohemian–Austrian Romantic poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926).
Hancock collaborated with Anoushka Shankar (sitarist daughter of Ravi Shankar) and Chaka Khan on this song. The track was recorded in Mumbai, India, with a group of Indian musicians. Hancock said of working with Khan to Spinner UK: "I thought she might be interested because she's so open to music and the joy she has when she has the opportunity to connect with jazz." He added "And I also got an Indian singer named K.S. Chithra. The poem is about music and space, the space between notes. And Larry got it translated into Hindi. So we were able to record Chaka singing in English, Chithra singing in Hindi, with Anoushka Shankar on sitar. Did that track all there."
Months later Hancock added an overdub by saxophonist Wayne Shorter, a colleague of the jazz legend since their days in Miles Davis' '60s ensembles. The saxophonist listened to only the beginning of the track and then started playing a part. "He did it in one take – hadn't even heard the track yet," Hancock told Spinner. "He heard the beginning and said, 'OK, let's do it.' Uncanny, his impulse of spontaneity and connection that he possesses."
Hancock told Billboard magazine about recording with K.S. Chithra: "When we recorded the song-the words were written by a German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke-I wanted it to be done in Hindi or another Indian language. The Indian singer we had, her name was Chitra and she's from south India-she doesn't speak Hindi, and she doesn't read Urdu. So we had to-and this is really bizarre, but it's so beautiful and fits into the concept - we had to do a Romanized phonetic translation so that she would know how to pronounce the words."