Omar Sosa & Yilian Cañizares - AGUAS Omar Sosa & NDR BIG BAND - ES:SENSUAL
Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita - Transparent Water
Omar Sosa Eros
Omar Sosa Ile
Omar Sosa Senses
Omar Sosa Eggun
Omar Sosa Alma
Omar Sosa Calma
Omar Sosa Ceremony
Omar Sosa Tales from the earth
Omar Sosa
Omar Sosa
Omar Sosa Promise
Omar Sosa Life a FIP
Omar Sosa Mulatos Remix
Omar Sosa Ballads
Omar Sosa Mulatos
Omar Sosa Aleatoric EFX
Omar Sosa Pictures of Soul
Omar Sosa New Life
Omar Sosa Ayaguna
Omar Sosa Free Roots Omar Omar Omar Sosa Nfumbe
Omar Sosa Free Rots
Omar Sosa Inside
Omar Sosa Bembon
Omar Sosa Prietos
Omar Sosa Sentir
Omar Sosa & Yilian Cañizares - Aguas

order cd

Aguas (OTA1032)

Pianist Omar Sosa and violinist-vocalist Yilian Cañizares have come together to create Aguas, a beautiful and very personal album. Featuring their compatriot, per- cussionist Inor Sotolongo, Aguas reflects the perspectives of two generations of Cuban artists living outside their homeland, interpreting their roots and traditions in subtle and unique ways. Songs range from the poignant to the exuberant, and are expressive of the exceptional musical chemistry, poetic sensibilities, and originality of the artists.

The material on Aguas is an inventive and engaging mix of the artists’ Afro-Cuban roots, Western classical music, and jazz. The album is dedicated to Water, and espe- cially to Oshun, the Goddess of Love and Mistress of Rivers in the Lucumí tradition of Yoruba ancestry known in Cuba as Santería – a spiritual practice important to both artists.

As water is synonymous with life, and energy, and strength, and space, the music of the album is inspired by the important influences of water – its hidden powers, its infinite transmutations, and its relentless creation. There is a sense, as well, for Omar and Yilian, of how water represents both sepa- ration from, and nostalgia for, the land of their birth.

The 11 tracks on Aguas were written and produced by Omar and Yilian, and recorded and mixed at Artesuono Studios in Udine, Italy by Stefano Amerio.

go up
Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita - Transparent Water

order cd

Transparent Water (OTA1031)

Transparent Water is the new studio collaboration between 7-time GRAMMY-nominated pianist-composer-bandleader Omar Sosa and London-based Senegalese singer and kora master Seckou Keita.  It’s slated for release in January 2017.

The project idea grew out of Sosa’s impromptu addition to a mid–2012 date with drummer Marque Gilmore at the CLF Art Café in London, in what was Sosa and Keita’s first musical encounter.  Profoundly moved by the experience, Omar told Seckou he wanted to invite him to work together on a future recording project.
Given their respective touring and recording schedules, it took a year, but in July 2013 Omar and Seckou went into the Fattoria Musica recording studio in Osnabrück, Germany and laid down the core tracks for Transparent Water.

Another chance meeting informs Transparent Water:  in April 2013, Galician bagpiper-pianist-composer Cristina Pato invited Omar to Santiago de Compostela, where Pato hosts an annual residency frequented by associates of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.  There Omar met Silk Road charter member and sheng master Wu Tong, whom Omar was moved to bring into the project.  In connection with a concert date in Shanghai in July 2014, Omar arranged a side trip to Beijing to record Wu Tong’s traditional flute overdubs.

Tokyo-born, Paris-based koto player Mieko Miyazaki came to Omar’s attention via her recorded work with French jazz guitarist Nguyên Lê.  When Omar finally had the chance to meet her, Mieko’s creative spirit utterly impressed him, and he enlisted her distinctive voice for Transparent Water.

For percussion, Omar turned to longtime collaborator Gustavo Ovalles, who divides his time between France and his native Venezuela.  Ovalles (who can be heard on three prior Sosa projects—Sentir, Ayaguna, and Egg?n) brings the polyrhythmic soul of the African Diaspora to Transparent Water.

Paris-based drummer-producer Steve Argüelles crafted the mix with Omar, having previously worked on Sosa’s award-winning Mulatos and Afreecanos CDs.

Transparent Water is the latest example of Omar Sosa’s transcendent determination to seek new combinations, a manifestation of improvisatory freedom wherein the musical destination is subordinate to the extemporaneous joy of shared artistic expression. Omar observes that, as he did with Sentir, “What I wanted to do was create something totally improvised.”

Transparent Water
—suggestive of translucence and flowing light—is a deeply spiritual recording that reveals its inspiration in the close and compassionate listening of artists engaged in a genial and captivating musical conversation, liberated from time itself, reaching across five continents to probe the collective spirit of the human condition.

go up

Omar Sosa Es:sensual

order cd


Es:sensual presents a continuation of Cuban pianist-composer Omar Sosa’s collaboration with Hamburg’s NDR (North German Radio—Norddeutscher Rundfunk) Bigband and Brazilian cellist-composer-arranger Jaques Morelenbaum, whose inaugural effort can be heard on Omar Sosa-NDR Bigband CD Ceremony (Otá, 2010).

Recorded at NDR’s Hamburg studios under the direction of Sosa and Morelenbaum, Es:sensual features the latter’s vivid arrangements of selections from Omar’s CDs Free Roots (1997), Mulatos (2004), Live à FIP (2006), Promise (2007), Across the Divide (2009), and Ilé (2014). Sosa, Morelenbaum, and the NDR Bigband extend their many influences in a contemporary contribution to the expansive universe of world jazz, where Sosa resides as a generous, abundant, and ecstatically inspired creative spirit. Omar possesses an incomparable capacity to bring the most diverse traditions into fruitful juxtaposition, moving through and far beyond his influences, from the folkloric to the classical, while sustaining a singular and joyous cosmopolitan voice. Omar is an artist who’s constantly seeking new combinations, and each of his projects is marked by a revelatory spirit of creative freedom.

Rooted in Afro-Cuban spiritual and percussive traditions, and intimately versed in a range of contemporary world musics, Omar’s finely textured compositions present Morelenbaum with the foundation to summon forth an expansive palette of sounds, inspiring the NDR Bidband’s brilliant soloists, maximizing the ensemble’s sonic potential, and providing ample latitude for Sosa’s own luminous keyboard improvisations.

Es:sensual pays tribute to the majestic figures of Afro-Cuban big-band jazz—Frank “Machito” Grillo, Chico O’Farrill, Cachao, Mario Bauzá, Dizzy Gillespie, and Chano Pozo—while also drawing inspiration from Cuban luminaries such as Armando de Sequeira Romeu, Peruchín, Pancho Quinto, Lázaro Ros, Lili Martínez, Benny Moré, Arsenio Rodríguez, Rubén González, Frank Emilio Flynn, Bebo Valdés, and a succeeding generation of artists including Chucho Valdés, Paquito D’Rivera, and the revolutionary conjunto Irakere.

This project grew from Omar’s conversation some years ago with Hamburg producer Stefan Gerdes of NDR, who facilitated the connection with Morelenbaum, a celebrated arranger known for his trailblazing work with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Cesária Evora, and Mariza, among many others.

The NDR Bigband, under principal conductor and arranger Jörg Achim Keller, is an ensemble of consummate soloists whose talents have been highlighted through the work of such noted arrangers as Michael Gibbs, Steve Gray, and Colin Towns. NDR Bigband collaborations comprise a virtual “Who’s Who” of world jazz, including Chet Baker, Oscar Brown, Jr., Paquito D’Rivera, Pee Wee Ellis, Joe Gallardo, Lionel Hampton, Dave Holland, Abdullah Ibrahim, Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Joe Sample, Maria Schneider, and Wayne Shorter.

go up
Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu - Eros

order cd

Eros (OTA1029)

For many, Omar Sosa and Paolo Fresu have helped change the way we listen to music. Their new Duo CD, EROS, brings us beyond listening, into the realm of heart and soul and empathy. This album follows the success of their debut CD, ALMA, in 2012, and four years of distinguished international touring. Today one of the most beloved Duos in Europe, Omar and Paolo’s unique and distinctive musical voices combine traditional and progressive musical elements from Cuba and Italy. They are both master musicians with illustrious careers, bent on expanding musical boundaries and exploring new cultures.

EROS is further proof of their artistic maturity. It is a deep and consistent work, dedicated to the many facets and mysteries of love. Sosa and Fresu have composed a suite of new songs inspired by the human emotions that lead beauty into the divine. The project is enriched by cello contributions from Brazilian master Jaques Morelenbaum (who was also a guest on ALMA), from the enchanting Maghreb singer Natacha Atlas (who creates a luminous Arab version of Teardrop by Massive Attack), and from the Italian Alborada String Quartet (who have graced many projects in the Fresu discography).

Like ALMA, EROS delves deeply into the energy, poetry, and spirituality of the Duo’s special musical chemistry. We find Sosa and Fresu dancing in a Latin mode around a winning mix of jazz, Cuban, African, and world music elements. The album takes a polyphonic approach, the Duo curating sonic landscapes with great care and sensitivity – as we also find in their bright and extraordinary live performances..

go up
Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu - Alma

order cd

Ilé (OTA1027)

Since he emigrated from Cuba in 1993, Omar Sosa has forged a distinctive musical path, fusing an array of jazz, world music, hip-hop, and electronic elements with his Afro-Cuban roots. Omar’s newest recording, ilé, marks a homecoming for the 7-time GRAMMY-nominated pianist and composer to the Latin Jazz influences of his formative years in late ‘80s and early ‘90s Havana. During this period, Omar savored the music of Pancho Quinto, Lázaro Ros, Rubén González, Machito, Benny Moré, Arsenio, Cachao, Lili Martinez, Peruchin, Chucho Valdés, and Irakere. Ilé means homeland in the Lucumí tradition of Cuba, derived from the Yoruba language of West Africa, and it is to the Latin Jazz roots of his native Cuba that Omar returns for inspiration on this new studio recording.

Joining him on the project are three musicians with whom Omar shares a close connection: fellow Camagüeyanos, Ernesto Simpson on drums, and Leandro Saint-Hill on alto saxophone, flute and clarinet, and Mozambican electric electic bassist Childo Tomas – collectively known as Quarteto AfroCubano. These musicians speak the same musical language, using their Cuban and African traditions as a springboard for creative freedom.

Special guests on the recording include Cuban percussionist Pedro Martinez, American guitarist Marvin Sewell, Cuban saxophonist Yosvany Terry, and maestro Eladio “Don Pancho” Terry, patriarch of the Terry family, on chekere. Featured on vocals is spoken word artist Kokayi. And, reflecting the influence of his extended residency in Barcelona, Omar showcases flamenco vocalist José “El Salao” Martín on several tracks, including a version of Cuban trova composer Sindo Garay’s La Tarde.

Ilé offers contemporary interpretations of some of the classic Cuban musical styles the world has come to admire. Listeners will enjoy a mix of ballads and sophisticated mid and up tempo arrangements. Also included is a set of four atmospheric interludes, featuring traditional music samples combined with improvised piano and soprano saxophone accompaniment.

Overall, the compositional focus of the project is on ensemble playing. A noteworthy dimension is Omar’s use of the Fender Rhodes electric piano in equal measure with the acoustic grand piano.

go up
Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu - Alma

order cd

Senses (OTA1026)

Omar Sosa's new solo piano recording, SENSES, was created at EMPAC, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, in February 2012. Omar was invited to an artist residency at EMPAC with Zimbabwean dancer // choreographer Nora Chipaumire to compose music for Nora's dance-theater piece, Miriam. During the residency period, Omar used the state-of-the art facilities at EMPAC, including a magnificent Yamaha CFIII concert grand piano, to record solo piano. The resulting improvisations comprise Omar's sixth solo piano CD, SENSES, a very personal, intimate set of 16 impromptus - relaxed, introspective, infused with calm and tranquility. About the recordings, Omar comments, "I feel peaceful. I feel love for the sake of love. The pieces are musical journeys, during which my Cuban roots emerge in unusual, deconstructed ways".

go up
Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu - Alma

  1. S'Inguldu (5:35)
  2. Inverno Grigio (5:28)
  3. No Trance (3:36)
  4. Alma (5:49)
  5. Angustia (4:34)
  6. Crepuscolo (3:15)
  7. Moon On The Sky (5:59)
  8. Old D Blues (6:36)
  9. Medley Part I: Niños (4:00)
  10. Medley Part II: Nenia (5:23)
  11. Under African Skies (7:28)
  12. Rimanere Grande! (2:58)

order cd

Eggun (OTA1024)

EGGUN: The Afri-Lectric Experience began as an Omar Sosa commission from the Barcelona Jazz Festival in 2009. The assignment: to compose and produce a tribute performance to Miles Davis’ classic recording, Kind Of Blue, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Inspired by various musical elements and motifs from Kind Of Blue, Omar wrote a suite of music honoring the spirit of freedom in Davis’ seminal work.

Featuring trumpet and two saxophones, Eggun provides a medium for musical elements from Africa to shape and develop the music. The resulting jazz textures are further enhanced by the subtle and expressive use of electronic elements. At the heart of the recording is the spirit of Mother Africa.

The featured horn players are Joo Kraus on trumpet (Germany), Leandro Saint-Hill on alto saxophone and flute (Cuba), and Peter Apfelbaum on tenor saxophone (U.S.A.). Omar’s longtime rhythm section of Marque Gilmore on drums (U.S.A.) and Childo Tomas on electric bass (Mozambique) create the foundation.

Special guests on the project include Lionel Loueke on guitars (Benin), Marvin Sewell on guitars (U.S.A.), Pedro Martinez on Afro-Cuban percussion (Cuba), John Santos on percussion (U.S.A.), and Gustavo Ovalles on Afro-Venezuelan percussion (Venezuela). The CD was recorded primarily in Brooklyn, NY. Of particular interest is a set of six Interludios interspersed among the primary tracks of the recording, inspired by melodic elements from the solos of Bill Evans.

Eggun, in the West African spiritual practice of Ifá and its various
expressions throughout the African Diaspora, are the spirits of those whohave gone before us, both in our immediate families and those who serve as our Spirit guides.

From the liner notes, by Joan Cararach, artistic director of the Barcelona Jazz Festival:

Harmony, peace, respect, freedom. That has been Omar Sosa’s
response to our proposal: to revisit Kind of Blue, by Miles Davis, from his own (quite exceptional) aesthetic assumptions. The year was 2009. The 41st Voll-Damm Barcelona International Jazz Festival had hired drummer Jimmy Cobb – the only surviving member of the group’s original line-up who created that record – and a tribute band committed to revive, in concert, the memory of that iconic jazz piece. But Kind of Blue, rather than a museum piece, is a mysterious record with an intimacy to be disclosed very slowly, generation after generation, beyond the commonplaces of history books.

That’s why we asked two artists who are familiar with our festival to revisit Kind of Blue from another perspective, following the artistic principles evoked by Bill Evans in his notes to the record signed by Davis: be yourself, be spontaneous, give all you have to give, everything you learned from those who came before and those you are sharing the road with. We selected Chano Domínguez, from Andalucía, who contributed Flamenco Sketches (Blue Note, 2012), and Cuban Omar Sosa, who did a powerful research of Miles Davis’ record.

Eggun (ancestors) is not a typical record, just as Sosa is not a typical pianist. The artist, at first reluctant, became obsessed probing into Kind of Blue to find nothing else but the paradoxes of a never-ending search: love and indifference; exile and emigration; being here and now with the lessons of those who illuminated us; restless energy and deliberate contemplation; the uncanny twists and turns of our souls and the shades of our lives; the constant strain between grief and joy, contradictory and supplementary at the same time.

Eggun essentially derives from the melodic cells of Kind of Blue’s solos and has the aim of honoring that record, which, let’s say it once more, is hardly known in spite of having been used and abused. Eggun is like all of Sosa’s works, an invitation to a journey plentiful with luxury, peace and sensuality (thanks, Baudelaire!). We have a welcome with Alejet – whitein Arabic – and El Alba. All the sounds of the African diaspora – where Moroccan bendir meets Dominican merengue and Puerto Rican plena: So All Freddie. The interludes, almost sacred invocations to the genius of Bill Evans. And a passionate desperation in the finale, as in records conceived the old way, like a narrative, followed by the final rest, grace in a religious sense, like an overflowing energy which at the end of the journey becomes pure togetherness.

Kindness, in short.

Joan Anton Cararach is the Artistic Director of the Barcelona Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival. In 2009 he commissioned 'Eggun' to Omar Sosa to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue'.s.

go up
Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu - Alma

  1. S'Inguldu (5:35)
  2. Inverno Grigio (5:28)
  3. No Trance (3:36)
  4. Alma (5:49)
  5. Angustia (4:34)
  6. Crepuscolo (3:15)
  7. Moon On The Sky (5:59)
  8. Old D Blues (6:36)
  9. Medley Part I: Niños (4:00)
  10. Medley Part II: Nenia (5:23)
  11. Under African Skies (7:28)
  12. Rimanere Grande! (2:58)

order cd

Alma (OTA1023)

Alma is the new recording collaboration between six-time GRAMMY-nominated Cuban composer and pianist, Omar Sosa, and celebrated Italian trumpet and flugelhorn player, Paolo Fresu. The CD features guest cello contributions on four tracks by the masterful Brazilian conductor, arranger, producer, and cellist, Jaques Morelenbaum. Recorded in Udine, Italy in May 2011, and produced by Paolo Fresu and Omar Sosa for Mr. Fresu’s label imprint, Tuk Music, the compositions are written by Omar Sosa and Paolo Fresu, except for Under African Skies, a gentle version of the popular track from the Paul Simon CD, Graceland.

Mr. Sosa first invited Paolo Fresu to join his band as a guest for a concert at NDR studios in Hamburg in 2006, which resulted in the release of a live recording entitled Promise, in 2007. Omar and Paolo toured together in Italy in July 2009, which further deepened the special musical chemistry between the artists, and inspired them to plan a Duo recording. Both admirers of Jaques Morelenbaum’s artistry, Omar and Paolo invited him to participate in the project. And when Omar traveled to São Paulo for a concert in August 2011, a studio session was organized. Mr. Morelenbaum’s illustrious career includes work with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Caetano Veloso, Carlinhos Brown, Gilberto Gil, and Japanese pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto. Mr. Morelenbaum also did the arrangements for the recent Omar Sosa CD, Ceremony, with the NDR Bigband, which received a 2011 ECHO Jazz Award.

Paolo Fresu is a prolific artist, whose touring and recording history includes work with Carla Bley, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Holland, John Zorn and Ralph Towner, to mention just a very few. He also serves as artistic director for the Berchidda Festival (“Time In Jazz”) and the Nuoro Jazz Seminars. Mr. Fresu, who is from Sardinia, recently celebrated his 50th birthday by producing a series of 50 concerts in Sardinia on 50 consecutive days during the summer of 2011, featuring musicians he has collaborated with over the years. Omar Sosa joined him for a Duo performance in Cagliari on July 9th (concert number 26)!

The music on Alma, meaning ‘soul’ in Spanish, is a mix of jazz and Cuban and world music, melodic and soulful, including a fiery version of Omar’s composition Angustia. Mr. Morelenbaum is featured on both the title track, Alma, and the opening track, S’Inguldu, as well as Omar Sosa’s new composition, Crepuscolo, and the version of Paul Simon’s Under African Skies. Mr. Fresu’s flugelhorn work is rich and warm. Sosa’s stylings are fresh and inventive. And the playful musical connection between the two is evident throughout the recordings. We have a sense of these accomplished artists ‘dancing’ together, creating an expressive and poetic link between Cuba and the Mediterranean, offering us a wide range of subtle and engaging musical colors.

go up
Omar Sosa Calma

  1. Sunrise (3:47)
  2. Absence (4:00)
  3. Walking Together (3:38)
  4. Esperanza (5:23)
  5. Innocence (3:25)
  6. Oasis (3:10)
  7. Aguas (3:37)
  8. Looking Within (5:02)
  9. Dance of Reflection (3:45)
  10. Autumn Flowers (3:33)
  11. Reposo (3:31)
  12. Madre (3:18)
  13. Sunset (4:05)

order cd

Calma (OTA1022)

Calma is Omar Sosa’s fifth solo piano recording, a work of singular artistry, featuring Omar’s unique and original approach to the genre.  The CD is comprised of 13 solo piano improvisations, fusing stylistic elements of jazz, classical new music, ambient, and electronica.  As the title implies, the overall feeling is relaxed and introspective, without any attempt to impress technically.  Rather, the intent is to evoke a mood of reflection and contemplation.
As Omar describes: “Each song is an inspiration for the next, and improvisation is the basis of the musical expression.  I wanted to play from beginning to end without thinking – just feeling where each note would take me, following the voice of my soul.  It’s possible that silence, yearning, hope, optimism, and sadness all travel hand-in-hand in many of the songs”.
The recording features a rarely heard combination of acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, and various electronic effects and sampled sounds.  All of these instruments were recorded live together in the studio, without overdubs – the artist interacting spontaneously, in real-time, with the various sonic elements.
Omar’s unorthodox harmonic sensibilities are evident throughout Calma.  We hear surprising harmonic turns, with sonorities blending and resolving in unpredictable ways.  And Omar’s subtle and integral use of the electronic elements lends a layer of sonic richness and depth to many of the tracks.
Rhythmically, the feeling of the CD is unhurried and meditative. Sensations of floating and suspension of time prevail. Melodically, the thematic material on Calma is quiet and restrained. We can imagine the melodic sensibilities of Erik Satie meeting those of Pierre Boulez.
Calma was recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn, New York on October 14, 2009

go up
Omar Sosa Tales from the earth

  1. Llegada Con Elegba ( 3:06 )
  2. Changó En Esmeraldas ( 6:19)
  3. Danzón De Tus Ojos (7:31)
  4. Yemaya En Agua Larga (6:39)
  5. Luz En El Cielo (8:41)
  6. Cha Con Marimba (5:43)
  7. Mi Tradición (6:28)
  8. Carambabá (7:53)
  9. Monkurú (7:07)
  10. Salida Con Elegba (2:56)

order cd

Ceremony (OTA1021)

NDR Bigband plays Omar Sosa
Arranged by Jaques Morelenbaum

Ceremony is a major new project, the fruit of pianist-composer Omar Sosa’s first big-band collaboration with composer-arranger-cellist Jaques Morelenbaum, Hamburg’s 18–piece NDR Bigband (North German Radio // Norddeutscher Rundfunk), and the Omar Sosa Quartet, featuring Julio Barreto (drums, Cuba), Childo Tomas (electric bass, Mozambique), and Marcos Ilukán (Afro-Cuban percussion, Cuba). Sosa himself plays piano and marimba.

Recorded in two sessions (2007 and 2008) at NDR’s Hamburg studios, under the direction of Morelenbuam and Sosa, Ceremony features Morelenbaum’s brilliant arrangements of selections from Omar’s Spirit Of The Roots (1999), Bembón (2000), and Afreecanos (2009) CDs—together with two new Sosa offerings, “Llegada Con Elegba” (the introductory track) and “Salida Con Elegba” (the closing piece).

Rooted in the Quartet’s Afro-Cuban percussive traditions, Sosa’s finely textured compositions enable Morelenbaum to summon forth a broad palette of sounds, fully mobilizing the NDR Bigband’s sonic potential and its brilliant soloists, while leaving ample space for Sosa’s own luminous improvisations.

Ceremony takes something of the structure of a sacred batá ceremony, invoking a panoply of Yoruba deities, while also delving into the Cuban son, danzón, and cha-cha-cha. Reflecting Sosa’s own spiritual grounding, Ceremony opens in sacramental veneration of Elegba, the divine messenger and guardian spirit, the all-powerful medium and diviner of human fate. “Changó En Esmeraldas” is an extended tribute to the deity of thunder and lightning, fire and moral retribution, and a reflection upon Sosa’s musical sojourn in the Afro-Ecuadorian community of Esmeraldas. “Yemaya En Agua Larga” honors the great mother and goddess of the sea, the moon, creation, and female mystery. In keeping with Yoruba tradition, Ceremony exits with a final ritual salutation to Elegba.

Ceremony acknowledges the majesty of the legendary Afro-Cuban big bands of Frank “Machito” Grillo, Chico O’Farrill, and Dizzy Gillespie, while extending those revered traditions in a contemporary salute to the expansive universe of world jazz, wherein Sosa himself continues to reign as a joyous, generous, abundant, and essential creative spirit.

Ceremony grew out of a conversation with Hamburg producer Stefan Gerdes of NDR, who brokered the connection with Brazil’s Morelenbaum, who is much sought after as an arranger, reflecting his signal work with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Cesária Evora, and Mariza, among many others.

The NDR Bigband is an ensemble of accomplished soloists whose talents have been highlighted through the work of such noted arrangers as Steve Gray, Colin Towns, and Michael Gibbs. Over the years, the NDR Bigband’s artistic collaborations have comprised a virtual “Who’s Who” of world jazz: including Chet Baker, Paquito D’Rivera, Pee Wee Ellis, Joe Gallardo, Lionel Hampton, Dave Holland, Abdullah Ibrahim, Pat Metheny, Joe Pass, Maria Schneider, Wayne Shorter, Oscar Brown, Jr., Al Jarreau, and Bobby McFerrin.

Ceremony will have its international debut at NDR in Hamburg on March 18–19, 2010.

—Michael Stone

NDR Bigband:

go up
Omar Sosa Tales from the earth

  1. Sunrise ( 1:22 )
  2. Invocation ( 5:53)
  3. Walking Song (4:45)
  4. Tea Break (2:36)
  5. Forest Journey (3:32)
  6. River Crossing (5:57)
  7. Children at play (4:38)
  8. Men´s Talk (7:21)
  9. Flirtation (5:28)
  10. Praise (1:48)
  11. Spirit Messenger (4:30)
  12. Celebration (5:53)
  13. Elders Speak (4:06)
  14. Gratitude (5:14)

order cd

Tales of the Earth (OTA1020)

Tales From The Earth. A thoroughly cosmopolitan outlook rooted in the rhythmic intensity and improvisatory, call-and- response spirit of Africa writ large. Artists of Cuban, Haitian, West African (Bénin, Ivory Coast), European, African American and Jewish American heritage, entering a Berlin studio for two days of intensive recording, without music or a predetermined conception, only a shared commitment to the communal, celebratory character that embodies the expressive riches of Mother Africa.

Flautist Mark Weinstein’s groundbreaking Cuban Roots (1967) melded the influences of Mingus, Machito, Puente, Tjader, and Palmieri, carried forward into the present with his recent collaborations, Cuban Roots Revisited, Algo Más, and now, Tales From The Earth. Weaving a musical lineage of a thousand strands, if Tales From The Earth recalls something of the creative spirit of M’Boom, the inventive all-percussion octet founded by Max Roach in 1970, it captures the global ecumenical spirit of the present.

Accordingly, Tales From The Earth resounds with the Afro-Cuban traditions of Omar Sosa—best known as a pianist and composer, but here primarily on marimba and vibraphone, which Sosa studied in Cuba’s conservatories before switching to piano. It features the eclectic guitar talents of Jean Paul Bourelly (Miles Davis, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Pharoah Sanders, Cassandra Wilson); the resonant balafon of Aly Keita’s Ivory Coast; the insistent drum ‘n’ bass sensibilities of Stockholm-based Marque Gilmore (Roy Ayers, Steve Coleman, Graham Haynes, Toumani Diabate, Vernon Reid, Joe Zawinul, MeShell Ndegeocello, Susheela Raman, Nitin Sawhney, Talvin Singh); the vocal and percussive vitality of Aho Luc Nicaise and Mathias Agbokou; and the fresh, ever-surprising turns of phrase that each artist invests in this pioneering project.

Tales From The Earth weaves a musical narrative that can be read as a journey to the source of the human spirit with all the playfulness, celebration, contemplation, historical awareness, compassion, reverence, and gratitude manifest in a life consciously lived.

Co-produced by Mark Weinstein, Omar Sosa, and Jean Paul Bourelly, Tales From The Earth embraces the radical challenge laid down by Monk long ago: “Jazz is freedom, so I play music. If I ever play the same thing twice, I’ll stop making music. ”

This ensemble never plays the same thing twice, and Tales From The Earth expresses a revelatory message, deeply grounded in tradition, yet thoroughly contemporary and innovative in realization, an expression of human freedom, and a celebration of the Diaspora, alive in our times.

go up

  1. Promised Land (7:05)
  2. Glu-Glu (5:39)
  3. Gabriel's Trumpet (6:15)
  4. Across Africa (The Dream) (3:29)
  5. Across Africa (Arrival) (5:34)
  6. Sugar Baby Blues (5:08)
  7. Night Of The Four Songs (5:12)
  8. Solstice (4:45)
  9. Ancestors (5:09)

order cd

Across The Divide (HN4538)

Across The Divide began like a shooting star - a luminous certainty that two folkloric musicians, a Cuban pianist and a New England multi-instrumentalist specializing in native and adopted American musics, could trace the connections between seemingly disparate worlds of thought. What was not seen at the start, however, was the great drama unfolding before us, a backdrop for the making of this record - the ascendancy of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States.

  His climb to power proved timely on so many levels - among them, the nation declaring its readiness to accept a leader of color at exactly the same moment we were birthing a song cycle highlighting the Middle Passage. From the castles of Ghana to the White House.

Moreover, the surround sound of the political machine filled the air with an unmusic  soundtrack; the relentless drone and grind of the campaign lending contrast to the stirring uplift of our musical discoveries. Across the Divide had not anticipated any seismic social shifts, had not aimed at didacticism. Indeed, its mandate was more pleasure-driven, in the ways of art and entertainment.
The crystallizing element in assembling this narrative was rhythm, heard through a melding and mingling of cultures and manifesting the shared roots between Omar Sosa and Tim Eriksen. No surprise, really. During the forced  migration of slaves, a practice that spanned centuries and fed the triangulated economies of Europe, Africa, and the Americas, indigenous musics and performance traditions entered New World ports, among them Havana and Chesapeake Bay. These strains of expression took root and became the basis for much popular culture.

Omar knows this in his bones. He is a global musician, attuned to the pulse of nature. His air of authority, of wisdom, is born from immersion in the musics of the world and a desire to propagate his folk heritage. Tim is a preservationist, uncovering songs dug deep in the soil and offering them as evidence of an exchange system distinctly American because of its cultural beginnings elsewhere. Theirs is a model marriage (one with rich historical roots), bearing offspring, new idioms, spiritually endowed.
The four vocals featured in Across The Divide are bound to the Eastern seaboard by tradition and development. "Promised Land," a Welsh hymm dating from the mid-1700's, first embraced as “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah,” is commonly heard in Baptist congregations of the American South. "Gabriel's Trumpet" hails from Maine, where it was first cited in the mid-1800's, introduced perhaps by sailors docking in the port town of Camden. "Sugar Baby Blues," known among West Virginians and popularized by Dock Boggs in the early days of "hillbilly music," was widely associated with the banjo, an instrument of African origin. And "Night Of The Four Songs" draws from the sacred music tradition of congregational singing, having passed through North Carolina many decades ago.

These songs are linked by Sosa's instrumental odysseys, tales of ancestry: the dreams and realities of passage within and beyond Africa; meditations on the solstice and the natural order, the longest days, the seasons of life; reverence for Eleggua, the deity who determines fate and tests the will of man. Across The Divide is fueled by these crosswinds. Sosa is guided by the North Stars of spirituality, ritual, and the human condition.

So too, it seems, was the poet and novelist Langston Hughes, a seminal voice in the Harlem Renaissance, whose reading of "The Struggle" was sampled then woven into the narrative. His call for racial consciousness and self-determination (“No man wanted to be a slave…”) is the literary counterweight to this musical oblation.
Which leads us to recognize the indomitable life force that faces unspeakable horrors yet somehow prevails – a beacon penetrating the fog of oppression, its promise flooding across oceans, continents, centuries. Every now and then we're reminded of that. Through a work of art or, less frequently, a presidential election.

-Jeff Levenson

  1. Prologo (1:50)
  2. Ollú (4:18)
  3. Nene La Kanou (5:01)
  4. Yeye Moro (5:59)
  5. Babalada (7:43)
  6. Light In The Sky (6:55)
  7. D'Son (5:15)
  8. Tres Negros (4:30)
  9. Mon Yalala (4:03)
  10. Tumborum (5:14)
  11. Why Angá? (6:45)

order cd

Afreecanos (OTA1019)

Afreecanos. Rooted in Africa. Omar Sosa’s new studio album brings together musicians from Africa, Cuba, Brazil, and France to celebrate the rich heritage of African music in jazz and Latin music. Mr. Sosa’s approach takes folkloric elements from Africa and the Americas, combines them with his Afro-Cuban roots, and brings them all forward into a contemporary jazz expression. For the first time since his arrangements on Spirit Of The Roots and Prietos, Mr. Sosa uses a horn section, and Afreecanos features a variety of traditional and modern flute sounds. The recording also features kora, ngoni, guitar-sitar, and a variety of folkloric percussion instruments, including batá, timbales, kongoman, m’bira, and talking drum.

Featured on the recording are Cuban drummer Julio Barreto, Mozambican electric bassist Childo Tomas, Senegalese vocalist Mola Sylla, Cuban folkloric master Lázaro Galarraga, Cuban woodwind player Leandro Saint-Hill, French trumpet player Stéphane Belmondo, and French multi-instrumentalist Christophe Disco Minck. Also featured are Cuban timbal master Orestes Vilató, Malian percussionist Baba Sissoko, Malian flute player Ali Wague, and Senegalese kora player Ali Boulo Santo, et al.

Mr. Sosa has taken Afro-Cuban musical forms, like the rumba, and arranged them for African musicians and African instruments... releasing these forms from the traditional Afro-Cuban clave... and opening them to innovative interpretations... combining the fokloric with the contemporary, the ancestral with the urban. Throughout the album we hear folkloric elements infusing a modern jazz idiom, including spirit vocals and percussion from Africa, Cuba, and Brazil. The sound is lush and orchestral.

Afreecanos is produced by Paris-based drummer Steve Argüelles, who also produced Mr. Sosa’s 2004 GRAMMY-nominated recording, Mulatos. Afreecanos was recorded at Fattoria Musica in Osnabrück, Germany, with additional recording in Paris and San Francisco.

The recording is dedicated to the late Cuban percussion masters, Pancho Quinto and Angá Diaz.


  1. Eleggua En Do (8:38)
  2. Two Afreecanos (5:22)
  3. Welcome (5:27)
  4. A Moment (4:58)
  5. Afreecanos West (9:05)
  6. Weekend Soft (8:59)
  7. Iyade (6:26)

order cd


Promise (SKP 9068-2)

With “Promise”, Omar Sosa continues his exploration of the African roots of traditional musics throughout the Diaspora, using jazz harmonies and the latest technology. His new Afreecanos Quartet features Cuban drummer Julio Barreto, Mozambican electric bassist Childo Tomas, and Senegalese vocalist Mola Sylla. The ensemble fuses the folkloric with the contemporary, the tribal with the urban - all with a Latin jazz heart. Downbeat recently commented that “Sosa stokes the African and Cuban fires: Each burns distinctly from the other while illuminating the place between them. This is where Sosa pitches his musical camp and works his magic” (January 2007).

Recorded in front of a live audience at the NDR radio studios in Hamburg, Germany, “Promise” features the above Quartet, plus noted Italian trumpet player Paolo Fresu, and Cuban flute player Leandro Saint-Hill. This live recording anticipates the release in October 2007 of Omar Sosa’s next studio album, entitled “Afreecanos”.

Available from or email or call 510-339-3389.

Julio Barreto toured and recorded with Gonzalo Rubalcaba from 1991 to 1998 in Trio and Quartet, and is featured on the Rubalcaba recordings “Suite 4 y20”, “Rapsodia”, “Diz”, “Imagine” and “Antiguo”. Mr. Barreto has also toured and recorded with Roy Hargrove, David Sanchez, Chucho Valdes, Steve Coleman, Ravi Coltrane, Chico Freeman, José Luis Quintana, and Miguel “Anga” Diaz. He lives in Luzern, Switzerland.

In addition to the electric bass, Childo Tomas sings in his native language Mozambican language of Ronga, and plays m’bira. Mola Sylla sings in his native language of Wolof, and plays m’bira and xalam.

  1. Nuevo Manto (8:41)
  2. Métisse (7:05)
  3. African Sunrise (3:37)
  4. Dos Caminos (5:50)
  5. Iyawo (5:21)
  6. El Consenso (9:56)
  7. Paralelo (6:50)
  8. Muevete En D (3:24)

order cd


Live à FIP (OTA1017, release date: October 10, 2006)

Omar Sosa has released a number of live, solo piano recordings and a number of live, piano-percussion duo recordings over the years. With Live à FIP, Omar offers his first live, ensemble CD, featuring a Quintet comprised of bass, drums, percussion and saxophone. Recorded at Radio France in Paris in front of a live, studio audience, Live à FIP offers new interpretations of many of the compositions from Mr. Sosa’s 2006 GRAMMY-nominated CD, Mulatos, as well as a number of new pieces. FIP is an acronym for France Inter Paris, part of the Radio France broadcasting network.

Joining Mr. Sosa for the May 12, 2005 date, and recording together for the first time, are regular Sosa collaborators (the late) Angá Díaz (Cuba) on percussion, Childo Tomas (Mozambique) on electric bass, and Luis Depestre (Cuba) on saxophones. Completing the ensemble is Paris-based drummer, Steve Argüelles (UK), who produced the award-winning Mulatos (OTA1014) and the follow-up Mulatos Remix (OTA1016).

Compositions from Mulatos include “Nuevo Manto” and “Dos Caminos”, as well as the sweetly lilting “Iyawo”, and the haunting “El Consenso”. New material includes “Métisse” and “Paralelo”, both part of Mr. Sosa’s current touring repertoire, and “African Sunrise”, featuring Childo Tomas’ African vocals and m’bira (known as a “thumb piano”). Closing the recording is a rousing version of one of Mr. Sosa’s signature encores, “Muevete En D”, featuring Angá Díaz on cajon (a wooden “box” drum).

Percussionist Angá Díaz is renowned for his contributions with influential Cuban artists Irakere, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, Rubén González, and Cachaíto López, as well as acclaimed U.S. trumpeter, Roy Hargrove. On Live à FIP, we are treated to Angá’s artistry on congas, cajon and bongo. Childo Tomas recently made his U.S. performing debut, joining Mr. Sosa for shows at Yoshi’s in Oakland and the new Arturo Sandoval Jazz Club in Miami. He will also join Omar on tour in the U.S. at the beginning of October.


  1. La Tra (5:05)
  2. L3zero (6:00)
  3. El Tresero (5:13)
  4. El Son (5:41)
  5. La Tra'lectric (5:36)
  6. Not your Frequency Remix (5:35)
  7. Paralelo (4:23)
  8. Rest, Wait, Call (0:55)
  9. Nuevo Flow (3:31)
  10. Iyawo´n Bass (6:04)

order cd

Mulatos Remix (OTA1016, release date: April 11, 2006)

Following the success of Cuban pianist Omar Sosa's recent recording "Mulatos" (OTA1015), which received a 2006 GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album, and a 2006 BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music nomination, and which features the artistry of legendary Cuban reedman Paquito D'Rivera, Ot· Records is pleased to announce the release of a remix album of material from the award-winning recording. Entitled "Mulatos Remix", the album features fresh and funky contributions by Paris-based drummer/producer, Doctor L; Brooklyn-based producer/remixer, DJ Spinna; live Drum & Bass pioneer/drummer, Marque Gilmore; Paris-based drummer/producer, Steve Arg¸elles (who produced "Mulatos" and whose mixes include some out-takes from the original "Mulatos" sessions); and new-to-the Paris scene, DJ basephunk.The dance-jazz vibe of these remixes features Omar Sosa piano and marimba riffs, funky clarinet riffs, as well as new vocal and flute elements... all enhanced by the cutting edge approaches of our guest remixers


  1. Mis Tres Notas (5:01)
  2. Para Ella (5:17)
  3. Fragile (3:18)
  4. Twice As Sad (2:51)
  5. Gracias Señor (5:07)
  6. Para dos Parados (6:22)
  7. Antes de ir va esto (9:16)
  8. Tienes un solo (7:12)
  9. Raya (6:23)
  10. Shirma (3:58)

order cd

Ballads (OTA1015, release date: September 13, 2005)

While Omar Sosa is often lauded for his high-energy, percussive piano style, he has also a profound sense of expression in the delicate, lyrical realm. In this collection of ballads, loosely defined, taken from four of his early recordings, we are treated to a listening experience of beautiful melody and rich harmony, full of romanticism and grace - all with a Latin jazz heart.

The compilation opens with Omar Sosa's signature ballad, "Mis Tres Notas", taken from his first ensemble recording, Free Roots (OTA1003) , and closes with the beautiful love song, "Shirma", taken from the same album, and featuring the artistry of reedman Sheldon Brown on bass clarinet. Also from Free Roots , we find "Raya", this time with Sheldon Brown on alto saxophone. From Omar Sosa's second ensemble CD, Spirit Of The Roots (OTA1005) , are taken "Para Ella", with Sheldon Brown on tenor saxophone, "Antes De Ir Va Esto", featuring John Calloway on flute and Orestes Vilato on timbal, and "Tienes Un Solo", featuring the divine Anastacia Newkirk on vocals. From the final recording of Omar Sosa's Roots Trilogy, Bembón (OTA1007) , we find "Gracias Señor" and "Para Dos Parados", both featuring poignant string arrangements, and the later featuring the exquisite vocal styling of María Márquez. Finally, from the groundbreaking CD, Prietos (OTA1008) , come two very delicate pieces, "Fragile", again featuring María Márquez, and "Twice As Sad", with Sheldon Brown on tenor saxophone. Ballads has a remarkable unity and organic quality, allowing the listener to let go into a magical, dream-like state. For those Omar Sosa fans who may have missed some of his early ensemble recordings and for those who have enjoyed the quieter, more introspective dimensions of this remarkable artist, Ballads is a must-have.

For more information, press kit, video, or interview, please contact or visit


  1. Ternura (7:27)
  2. Nuevo Manto (6:15)
  3. La Tra (5:44)
  4. Reposo (4:22)
  5. La Llamada (7:27)
  6. Dos Caminos (5:39)
  7. Iyawo (6:23)
  8. L3zero (6:41)
  9. El Consenso (5:21)

order cd


Mulatos (OTA1014, release date: October 12, 2004)

How to be true to a music tradition and be part of the world at large? To be a modern artist (and consequently a traveler), without dismissing your roots? Omar Sosa searches out new sounds for a music that is simultaneously his own, and part of an Afro-Cuban culture. Mulatos is a fitting description for the kind of approach Omar is adopting - a mix of Cuban music that dances with rhythmic inspirations of Indian tabla, jazz drums, and studio mixing. Listening to the voices of the Arabic lute, the oud, a fore runner of the Cuban tres, and European clarinet melodies reminding him of Paquito D’Rivera and the repertoire of the great Cuban masters, Omar Sosa's unique way of imagining how this can fit together and making the leap to realize the recording of it, is what makes him stand out as a very modern musician - an inventive and courageous artist.
The album Mulatos features the highly individual talents of Dhafer Youssef (oud), Steve Argüelles (drums, electronics), Dieter Ilg (double bass), Philippe Foch (tabla), and Renaud Pion (clarinets). With the exception of Omar Sosa, the relation to Cuban music for these musicians is somewhat removed, though respectful and engaging. Omar’s extraordinary abilities as a composer, pianist, marimba percussionist (new here to many of his followers) and his authoritative leadership threads this together beautifully to create a major development for a Cuban jazz artist.Joining the project as special guest on clarinet for three compositions, someone whose artistry Omar has admired for many years, is Paquito D’Rivera (tracks 1, 2, 6).

Producer Steve Argüelles remarks, “It's an album that is tightly constructed, like movie editing in the sense that the clarity of musical ideas are presented to maximum effect, be it a simple melody, a curious rhythm, or an electronic touch here and there. It remains rich, too, in the way that a favorite record is what you keep returning to, an important objective of ours. It tells a story about Omar’s relation to jazz, Afro-Cuban rhythms and spirituality, the piano, and a freely expressive mind”.

aleatoric efx

    1. Follow My Shadow (7:03)
    2. Impromptu in D Minor (4:40)
    3. Mute Ostinato in C (7:13)
    4. Pentatonic Research (6:35)
    5. Dias de Iyawo (9:12)
  6. Sobre Un Manto en E Minor (4:26)
    7. Intense Moon in F# Minor (5:19)
    8. Siberian Horses (4:57)
    9. Muevete en D (2:57)

order cd

Aleatoric EFX (OTA1013, release date: June 1, 2004)

Recorded live at Radio Bremen, Germany, in November 2003, Aleatoric EFX is Omar Sosa’s fourth solo piano recording. The new CD combines Omar’s free, improvisatory approach to the piano, with his use of a number of electronic effects, also directed live from the piano during the performance. The result is an engaging, multi-dimensional musical experience, with elements of jazz, classical, new music, and electronica. The term aleatoric refers to the chance or random ways in which the subtle electronic elements mesh with the performance both inside the piano and on the keyboard.
From the mysterious, ethereal beginnings of Follow My Shadow, with its bass string drone and yearning melodic figure, to the classical lyricism and haunting beauty of Impromptu in D Minor, the recording opens in a delicate, understated mood. Mute Ostinato in C continues Omar’s fascination with the bass drone, as in Indian classical music, combined with a series of lilting rhythmic figures, and unique use of the coco shells inside the piano on the strings. Throughout these opening improvisations, we see the influence of one of Omar’s classical music mentors, Erik Satie.Pentatonic Research reveals some of Omar’s daring harmonic sense, built on a dialogue of Eastern-tinged, space-age motifs. This is followed by a version of Omar’s signature ballad, Iyawo, with its sweet, romantic melody, sliding, as it often does, into a subtle montuno groove. With Sobre Un Manto en E Minor and Siberian Horses, we continue to find ourselves traversing an aural landscape of longing, urgency and surrender.

Only toward the end of the recording, with Intense Moon in F# Minor and the rousing finale, Muevete en D, another of Omar’s signature compositions, does he take the energy to a dramatic level. For those who have enjoyed Omar’s previous solo piano outings, Aleatoric EFX is sure to be an enjoyable addition to the collection. For those who are new to this dimension of Omar’s musical sensibilities, it is sure to be a good place to start.

Omar Sosa Pictures of Soul
Omar Sosa New Life
Omar Sosa Ayaguna
Omar Sosa Sentir
Omar Sosa Prietos
Omar Sosa Bembon
Omar Sosa Free Roots Omar Omar
Omar Sosa Nfumbe
Omar Sosa Free Rots

Copyright © Otá Records 2018