Omar Sosa

Recordings

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Ayaguna
MP3 Audio Samples:
Black Reflection
Una Tradicion Negra
Dias de Iyawo
Toridanzon

AYAGUNA (OTA1010, release date: 3/2003)

In this new live Duo recording, Omar celebrates his ongoing collaboration with Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles. These two kindred spirits have been performing together since 1999, delighting audiences throughout Europe, Japan and the United States with their inspired musical chemistry and creativity.

Ayaguna was recorded at Motion Blue in Yokohama, Japan, the newest of the Blue Note venues in that country, in July 2002. The intimate duo setting allows Omar to exult freely and passionately at the piano (inside and out), moving with ease from intensive groove patterns to delicate, balladic modes of expression.

The performance is enhanced by the live interaction of the Motion Blue sound engineer, who provides an undulating dimension of audio effects throughout the concert. While the various sound effects interact with the piano performance, Gustavo's percussion accompaniment provides a steady base for the aural feast. Gustavo is featured on a number of interesting Venezuelan percussion instruments including quitiplas and culo'e puya, as well as congas, bongo, maracas, guiro, snare and cymbals. An extraordinary synergy and sensitivity between the two musical voices is evident throughout the recording.

The title, Ayaguna, is taken from Ifa, the religious practice of the Yoruba culture of West Africa, and its New World offspring in Cuba (known as Santeria). Ayaguna is one of the paths of Obatala, the deity of peace and wisdom, albeit a path of Obatala as a young and fierce warrior, for whom revolution is a necessary part of change and progress. Both Omar and Osvaldo are "sons" of Obatala in their practice of Santeria, from which they draw much inspiration.

Ayaguna includes an enhanced CD bonus track version of the ballad Iyawo, featuring multi-media visual production by London-based VJs Marc Silver and Nick Hillel, collectively known as Yeast. The bonus track offers an engaging glimpse into one of Omar's new directions for live performance, in which the VJs sample, mix and project images onto a large screen in synchronization with the music.

Tracks: 1. Black Reflection / 2. Una Tradicion Negra
3. Iyawo (opening) / 4. Dias de Iyawo / 5. Africa Madre Viva
6. Trip in the White Scarf / 7. Toridanzón / 8. Eleggua in the Road
9. My Three Notes / 10. Bonus Video Track: Iyawo (Peace Refrain)


Sentir
MP3 Audio Samples:
Opening for Elegguá
Manto Blanco
Ajul Yemanyá
Tres Notas en Amarillo

SENTIR (OTA1009, release date: 3/2002)

2003 Latin GRAMMY Nominee: "Best Latin Jazz Album."
Awarded "Afro-Caribbean Jazz Album of the Year" from the Jazz Journalists Assoc. in New York.

With Sentir, his fifth ensemble recording as a leader, Omar continues to interweave traditional voices and rhythms from Cuba, Morocco and Venezuela with contemporary jazz harmonies and spoken word to create an exquisite musical tapestry, as well as a message of unity and peace for our planet.

Omar brings together the guembri, a traditional musical instrument from the Gnawa culture of North Africa, with bata drums, Afro-Venezuelan percussion instruments, rap poetry and singing from all three cultures to reveal the commonality of their musical roots and rituals.

Sentir is infused throughout with a sense of freedom and spontaneity - a result of Omar's first-time meeting in the studio with Moroccan vocalist and multi-instrumentalist El Houssaine Kili, Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles and Cuban (Yoruba) vocalist Martha Galarraga.

Tracks: 1. Opening for Elegguá / 2. Sucesion en Blanco
3. Rojo Changó / 4. Manto Blanco / 5. Toridanzón
6. Ajul Yemanyá / 7. Oda la Negro / 8. Sister in Yellow
9. Cielo y Mar Azules / 10. Tres Notas en Amarillo
11. Rojo y Negro / 12. Eggun / 13. Sentir.


Prietos

Audio Samples to follow

Mother Africa
Cha-Amarillo
Sleeping Lion
Blanco En Africa

PRIETOS (OTA1008, release date: 5/2001)

Omar's large-ensemble recording Prietos continues to blaze new musical trails with its explosive mix of sounds from Cuba, Morocco, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and the United States. Voices and instruments from all these cultures find joyfull expression in this fresh, powerful, passionate CD.

Omar juxtaposes folkloric melodies and rhythms with contemporary jazz harmonies and spoken word to create a modern, urban sound with a Latin jazz heart. Omar has been called a 21st century mix of Thelonius Monk back from beyond and Eddie Palmieri in the full-blown and innocent spirit of his youth.

Throughout this recording we hear Omar's genuis as an arranger and his gifted expression at the acoustic piano.

Tracks: 1. Elegguá / 2. Takes A Second / 3. Mother Africa
4. Niño Divino / 5. Cha-Amarillo / 6. Sleeping Lion
7. Blanco En Africa / 8. Twice As Sad / 9. Why So Complicated?
10. Fragile / 11. Desde Allá / 12. Prietos / 13. Misa


Bembon

Audio Samples to follow

Negros
Lapiz En Pigalle
Marimchacha
Bembón
BEMBON (OTA1007, release date: 3/2000)

Like his CDs Free Roots and Spirit of the Roots, Omar's new large-ensemble recording is an amazing mixture of Cuban, jazz, spoken word and world music elements.

Omar's is a World Jazz vision, gracefully weaving a tapestry of musical threads from Afro-Ecuadorean, Afro-Cuban and Afro-American traditions. His subtle fusion of rhythms, harmonies, voices and instruments is an exploration of Latin jazz beyond its traditional Cubop expressions. For the first time, Omar uses a classical string quartet to unite these elements.

Omar's genius as an arranger and his extraordinary inspiration at the piano are evident throughout.

Tracks: 1. Negros / 2. Para Dos Parados / 3. Lapiz En Pigalle
4. Marimchacha / 5. Juntos / 6. Dame Un Tiempo
7. Comps Verdes / 8. Narcosa Con Yalode / 9. Gracias Señor
10. Bembón / 11. Torbelegg


Inside

INSIDE (OTA1006, released: 9/1999)

Inside is an intimate and compelling set of solo piano improvisations. They are at times pensive and introspective, at times romantic, playful and delicate - always inventive and unpredictable.

The North Sea Jazz Festival remarked that "Omar will be ranked among the great wizards of the keyboard, like Chick Corea and George Duke."

Tracks: 1. Para Ella / 2. The Boy Is Here / 3. Muy Solo
4. Fue en Paris / 5. Shirma / 6. Caminan / 7. Ojos Locos
8. One For You / 9. Gracias Señor / 10. Solas


Spirit of the Roots
SPIRIT OF THE ROOTS (OTA1005, Released: 01/1999)

Spirit of the Roots is a celebration of the hybrid African spirituality that developed in Cuba, Ecuador, Brazil and the United States over the past several hundred years. It is a complex blend of many voices of the African Diaspora - in English, Spanish and Yoruba - over a rhythmic base containing many layers of drumming also drawn from those cultures.

Omar absorbs from each culture that touches him - the energy and storytelling of hip-hop, the free-spirited experimentation of jazz, the heartfelt power of an Afro-Ecuadorian choir and the celebration of sensuality of Cuban popular music.

Tracks: 1. Elegguá / 2. La Tela Pa' Oya / 3. It's My Head
4. Fabriciano Con Changó / 5. Tienes Un Solo
6. To Miles and Joseito Ibaé / 7. Agua Larga Pa' Yemayá
8. Remember Monk / 9. Chancletera / 10. Antes De Ir Va Esta
11. Mi Negra, Tu Bombón / 12. Para Ella / 13. Elegguá


Nfumbe - For the Unseen
NFUMBE (OTA1004, released: 10/1998)

In their musical collaboration, Omar and noted Bay Area percussionist and educator John Santos allow the intuitive, the mysterious and the spontaneous to claim free reign. In this live duo recording,

Sosa and Santos do indeed capture a very special chemistry. John plays a variety of rare hand percussion instruments as well as congas and bata drums. Omar is simply insprired.

Tracks: 1. Entrada / 2. Muevéte en D / 3. Nfumbe / 4. Modupue
5. Caribeño / 6. Un Congo En Savilla


Free Roots
FREE ROOTS (OTA1003, released: 07/1997)

There is an invigorating new jazz sound coming from Cuba, a music of great virtuosity and innovation drawing on a wide range of musical tradition - from Latin jazz to straight-ahead to European classical music. Omar is one of the leading ambassadors of this new Cuban sound. His impressionistic music encompasses cha-cha grooves and Monkish phrases, Yoruba chants, hip-hop beats and rhapsodic melodies.

Free Roots was greeted with widespread acclaim, and was selected by Paris music critic Remy Kopoul as #1 Album of the Year in France (1997).

Tracks: 1. Travieso / 2. Fue Mantira / 3. Buscanda La Clave
4. Raya / 5. Cha Cha Du Nord / 6. Para No Lo Lei
7. Mis Tres Notas / 8. Afro Cués A Dada / 9. Shirma
10. Guajira de Capital / 11. Ponlo Debajo, Mierda / 12. Para Dos


Omar Omar
OMAR OMAR (OTA 1001, released: 07/1997)

Omar's first solo piano recording is a stunning album marked by unorthodox technique, offbeat rhythmic energy and harmonic boldness. Omar's musical imagination is eclectic, mysterious, wryly humerous, and wonderfully improvisational.

"Omar Omar is a reflection of my inner landscape -- my life experiences, my state of mind, my emotions. These are transmitted sometimes through sudden inspiration, other times through more traditional compositional techniques. Musical themes surge from an inspiring force within, each with its own imagery, harmony, and color -- each searching its roots in Cuban music, of which I will always be a part, body and soul. I use the rhythms and forms of native Cuban music to create movement between traditional and contemporary styles." OMAR SOSA PALACIOS

Tracks: 1. Remember The Clave / 2. Guajira Barroca
3. Muévete In D / 4. Breezes / 5. Angustia With Tumbao
6. Campos Verdes / 7. Añoranza / 8. Cha Cha Du Nord
9. My Three Notes / 10. Toritesón / 11. Otra Cosa
12. Saubadaba / 13. Two Crazy Colors / 14. Rain Falls

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