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Info for Suba
Though they share an ancestral connection to Africa, the respective birthplaces of piano virtuoso Omar Sosa and kora Maestro Seckou Keita, Cuba and Senegal, are separated by the Atlantic Ocean. When the pair met in 2012, Seckou admired Omar for his musical spirituality, whilst Omar saw in Seckou a rare ability to collaborate while retaining his musical identity. Their debut album, Transparent Water, was released to acclaim in 2017. Recorded during lockdown, the pair’s second album, SUBA, is a hymn to hope, to a new dawn of compassion and real change in a post-pandemic world. Joining Omar and Seckou in the studio, and for live performances, is the inimitable Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles.
For Omar, the album marks a heartfelt reiteration of humanity’s oldest prayer: “The concept of the record is peace, hope and unity. In this moment we’re living, when everything’s falling apart little by little, the last thing we have inside ourselves is a sacred connection with our inner voice, with our spirit and light and with our ancestors. We try to give hope through music and tell people that we can be together.”
“Suba” means “sunrise” in Mandinka, Seckou’s native language, representing his favourite time of day and a moment of freshness and hope. “Even if you’re facing certain difficulties, you reset your brain back to normal. You see the sunrise as a new day, a new peace, a new something, good or bad – an exciting something. That was the feeling I had when I was writing with Omar.”
Sosa has released over 30 albums during an incredible career that has included nominations for seven GRAMMY or Latin GRAMMY awards; Keita is a multi-award winner, most recently as the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year (2019). Recorded during lockdown and released in October 2021, Sosa and Keita’s second album SUBA is a hymn to hope, to a new dawn of kindness and real change in a post-pandemic world, a visceral reiteration of humanity’s perennial prayer for peace and unity. Joining Omar and Seckou in the studio and for live performances is the inimitable Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles.
"A pure expression of joy, emitting rays of light through sound" (All About Jazz)
“These two create the most extraordinary atmosphere with their music. A must!” (Jazz FM)
Omar Sosa, piano
Seckou Keita, kora
Composer-pianist-bandleader Omar Sosa was born in 1965 in Camagüey, Cuba's largest inland city. At age eight, Omar began studying percussion and marimba at the music conservatory in Camagüey; in Havana, as a teenager, he took up piano at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Música, 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. Moving in 1993 to Ecuador, Omar immersed himself in the folkloric traditions of Esmeraldas, the northwest coast region whose African heritage includes the distinctive marimba tradition. He relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995, and soon invigorated the Latin jazz scene with his adventurous writing and percussive style.
Annually performing upwards of 100 concerts on six continents, Omar has appeared in venues as diverse as the Blue Note (New York, Milan, and Tokyo), Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center, the Getty Center, London's Barbican and Queen Elizabeth Hall, Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall, and Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt; festivals including Monterey Jazz, JVC Jazz, Montreal Jazz, Marciac Jazz, North Sea Jazz, Helsinki, Grenoble Jazz, Montreux Jazz, Naples Jazz, Ravenna Jazz, Roma Jazz, Spoletto, WOMAD, and Cape Town International Jazz; and universities on several continents, including a visiting artist fellowship at Princeton University in March 2008, and a visiting artist residency at Dartmouth College in April 2008. Omar will return to Dartmouth College for a second artist residency in February 2011.
Mr. Sosa 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. He has received two nominations from the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards, in 2004 and 2006, both in the 'Americas' category. In 2003 Omar Sosa received the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Album of the Year Award from the Jazz Journalists Association in NYC for his recording Sentir; and a nomination from the Jazz Journalists Association for Latin Jazz Album of the Year in 2005 for his recording Mulatos. More info at www.omarsosa.com