Omar Sosa

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Omar Sosa
Omar Sosa.jpg
Omar Sosa in concert
Background information
Born (1965-04-10) April 10, 1965 (age 53)
Camagüey, Cuba
Genres Afro-Cuban, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Marimba, piano, Rhodes piano
Years active 1995–present
Associated acts John Santos, Greg Landau, Afreecanos, Anastacia
Website www.omarsosa.com

Omar Sosa (born April 10, 1965) is a Cuban-born composer, bandleader, and jazz pianist.

Biography[edit]

Born in Camagüey, Cuba, Sosa began studying marimba at the age of eight, then switched to piano at the Escuela Nacional de Musica in Havana, where he studied jazz. Sosa moved to Quito, Ecuador, in 1993, then San Francisco, California, in 1995. In San Francisco he became deeply involved in the local Latin jazz scene and began a long collaboration with percussionist John Santos. He also made a series of recordings with producer Greg Landau, including the ground-breaking Oaktown Irawo, featuring Tower of Power drummer Dave Garibaldi, Cuban saxophonist Yosvany Terry and Cuban percussionist Jesus Diaz. Sosa and Landau recorded with Carlos "Patato" Valdes and Pancho Quinto and worked on several film scores. Around 1999 Sosa moved to Barcelona, Spain.

In January 2011, Omar Sosa won The 10th Annual Independent Music Awards in the Jazz Album category for Ceremony.[1]

Sosa has received four Grammy Awards nominations[2]:

  • Sentir (2002) nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album
  • Mulatos (2004) nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album
  • Across the Divide: A Tale of Rhythm & Ancestry (2009) nominated for Best Contemporary World Music Album
  • Eggun (2013) nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album

Sosa has received three Latin Grammy Awards nominations:

  • Sentir (2002) nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album
  • Across the Divide: A Tale of Rhythm & Ancestry (2009) nominated for Best Instrumental Album
  • Calma (2011) nominated for Best Instrumental Album

Musical style[edit]

He has played with a number of world musicians all around the globe, and often collaborates with those outside the jazz and Afro-Cuban traditions. Sosa mixes jazz influences alongside Latin rhythms, North African percussions and spoken word/rap lyrics. He also references classical music. Political and spiritual, he describes his music as an expression of humanism and Santería. On various projects his sounds have ranged from pleasant and melodic, big Latin band, piano improvisation, world music, to free jazz and avant-garde.

Current projects[edit]

Omar recently collaborated once again with Greg Landau for a CD with Peruvian singer Susana Baca, deconstructing the music of Cuban legend Bola de Nieve[citation needed]. His newest band, Afreecanos, combines Afro Pop, jazz, and a variety of European instruments. The band, which includes musicians from Africa, Cuba, Brazil, and France, released a CD in 2009 and went on a world tour in early 2010.

In 2012 he released Alma in collaboration with 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. 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.

In 2013 Sosa released Eggun. The project began as a commission from the Barcelona Jazz Festival in 2009. The assignment was 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, Sosa wrote a suite of music honoring the spirit of freedom in Davis’ seminal work. The CD received a nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album at the 56th annual Grammy Awards.

On March 10, 2015 Sosa went back to his Cuban roots with the release of Ilé. Joining him on the project were 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 bassist Childo Tomas – collectively known as Quarteto AfroCubano.

Discography[edit]

  • Omar Omar (1996)
  • Free Roots (1997)
  • Nfumbe for the Unseen (1998)
  • Spirit of the Roots (1999)
  • Inside (1999)
  • Bembón (2000)
  • Prietos (2001)
  • Sentir (2002)
  • Ayaguna (2003)
  • A New Life (2003)
  • Pictures of Soul (2004)
  • Aleatoric EFX (2004)
  • Mulatos (2004)
  • Ballads (2005)
  • Mulatos Remix (2005)
  • Live à FIP (2006)
  • Promise (2007)
  • D.O. - A Day Off (2007)
  • Afreecanos (2008)
  • Across the Divide: A Tale of Rhythm & Ancestry (Half Note Records) (2009)
  • Tales from the Earth (2009)
  • Ceremony (2010)
  • Calma (World Village/Harmonia Mundi, 2011)
  • Alma (2012)
  • Eggun (2013)
  • Senses (2014)
  • Ilé (2015)
  • Jog (2015)
  • Eros (2016)
  • Transparent Water (World Village/Harmonia Mundi Pias) (2017)
  • Es:sensual (2018)

References[edit]

External links[edit]