Omar SosaOrder CDs

Free RootsCuba, Africa, Esmeraldas,
India, the United States:
Cultures that mark creation
Ancestors who guide
Roots that live within
Thoughts that embrace existence
Experiences that never return
Dreams yet to exist
And each day the need
for an even freer dialogue.

Omar Sosa
Oakland, CA
March 6, 1997

Ikú lo bi Ocha. El muerto pare al santo. Death gives birth to the saint, to the diety. With this Yoruba invocation, Omar invites us to experience his music, his spiritual roots, his ancestry. He invites us also to connect with our own spritual experience, to discover the history of spirit and music in our own blood, to open ourselves to the mystery and magic of life. However we experience it, however we conceive of it, we are all children of the gods.

Elegguá, one of the Yoruba dieties, is the owner of roads and opportunities. He holds the keys of destiny. He opens and closes the doors to happiness and misfortune. He represents the indissoluble relationship between life and death, positive and negative. Elegguá is a trickster, a child. He is wild, playful, mischievous. Travieso. His presence marks the gateway between the internal world of safety and the external world of danger. He helps us communicate with the other gods.

Elegguá was the son of Okuboro, king of Añagui. One day, as a youth, walking with his sack, he saw a bright light on the ground with three eyes. As he approached, he saw that it was a coconut. Elegguá carried it away to the palace, told his parents what he had seen, and then threw the coconut behind a door. A little later, everyone was surprised to see the light coming from the coconut. Three days later, Elegguá died.

Everyone was very respectful of the coconut while it continued shining. But with time, the people forgot about it. After this, the town came upon hard times - it was in disarray. When the elders assembled, they came to the conclusion that abandoning the coconut was the cause. They found the coconut dry and full of worm holes.

The elders agreed to do something solid and lasting and they decided to put a stone in the place of the coconut, behind the door. This was the birth of Elegguá as a diety. And for that, one says: Ikú lo bi Ocha. Our ancestors are the origin of the gods. There can be no magic without the assistance of the dead. We feed the gods by feeding the dead. There can be no life without death.

Spirit expresses itself through music, through rhythm. And like blood, these expressions combine, roots combine, freely. Expressions from Cuba, Africa, India, Esmeraldas, the United States. Sometimes the combinations are planned; sometimes they are of a more random nature, like a Dadaesque painting. Listen to Omar ease in and out of his montuno figures. Other times listen to him jump in and out. As one of his songs titles suggests, listen for the son clave.

Omar was born and grew up in Camagüey, Cuba.

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