OMAR SOSA & SECKOU KEITA Transparent Water featuring GUSTAVO OVALLES @ Roulette Thursday, March 22nd 8:00 PM
Robert Browning Associates presents
OMAR SOSA & SECKOU KEITA
featuring GUSTAVO OVALLES
Omar Sosa, piano • Seckou Keita, kora, vocals •
Gustavo Ovalles, percussion
Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 8:00 PM
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue at 3rd Avenue
"a powerfully elegant statement of joy over shared musical discovery…I often imagined Omar Sosa lifted up to the Yoruban spirits in the form of a swarm of butterflies. Such is the beauty of his musical spirit.” – NPR
The celebrated 7-time Grammy-nominated Cuban pianist/composer/bandleader Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora (harp-lute) master/singer Seckou Keita are acclaimed musical adventurers with a rich heritage that spans jazz, Latin and African influences. They are joined by Sosa’s longtime collaborator, Venezuelan percussion wizard Gustavo Ovalles, who encompasses the polyrhythmic sound of the African diaspora. They will perform music from their acclaimed album on OTA Records, Transparent Water. Evocative of translucence and flowing light, it is a deeply spiritual recording full of serenity and a gentle elation with music that comes across as an antidote to the world in turmoil. The program at Roulette is part of their first national tour of Transparent Water.
Omar Sosa is one of the most versatile jazz artists on the scene today. His musical trajectory traces the diaspora from Cuba to Africa and Brazil, from Central America to Ecuador’s African-descent communities. Born in 1965 in Camagüey, Cuba’s largest inland city, he studied percussion and marimba at the music conservatory in Camagüey, piano at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Música in Havana, and completed his formal education at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. Among his influences, Omar cites traditional Afro-Cuban music, European classical composers (including Chopin, Bartok, and Satie), Monk, Coltrane, Parker, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Chucho Valdés, and the pioneering Cuban jazz group Irakere. His extensive credits include Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, London’s Barbican and Queen Elizabeth Hall, Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and such festivals as Monterey Jazz, JVC Jazz, Montreal Jazz, Montreux Jazz, WOMAD and Cape Town International Jazz. Nominated seven times for a Grammy and twice for the BBC World Music Awards, Sosa entwines the expressive traditions of Africa and the Americas in a distinctive cosmopolitan voice, articulating a brilliant, joyous, and thoroughly contemporary global jazz idiom and creating a fresh and original urban sound – all with a Latin jazz heart. He received a lifetime achievement award from the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, DC in 2003 for his contribution to the development of Latin jazz in the United States.
Seckou Keita is one of the most influential kora players of his generation, seated in tradition whilst constantly pushing the boundaries of his art. Growing up in the Casamance area of southern Senegal, he was a child prodigy born of a line of griots (praise singers and oral historians) and kings. He has graced the international stage since 1996, earning worldwide acclaim for his kora playing and appearing with such luminaries as Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour, and Miriam Makeba. His current solo album, 22 Strings, explored what it means to be a modern global citizen, and yet to live with seven centuries of tradition and heritage expressed through music. The album won Best Album in the Africa and Middle East category in SonglinesMusic Awards 2016, and was recently selected as one of Simon Broughton’s Top Ten Kora Albums.
Gustavo Ovalles has worked with leading artists from the worlds of salsa and jazz and shared the folkloric music of his native Venezuela with world musicians. After studying at the Caracas Conservatory, he turned to percussion and traditional Venezuelan dance, visited Venezuelan villages to find the roots of traditional music, and went to Havana to work with drum masters. He has participated in many jazz festivals, and appeared on prestigious stages from New York to Tokyo. Prior to Transparent Water, he worked on three projects with Omar Sosa: Sentir, Ayaguna, and Eggūn.
Made possible in part with public funding provided by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State legislature.