FREE Omar Sosa Concert

Cover of
Cover of Afreecanos

I’m trying not to get upset that I won’t be able to attend Omar Sosa’s free concert next week, March 25, 2009, at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC.

I stumbled upon Omar’s work about a year ago now when I was studying Carribean and Afro-Cuban Jazz rhythmns. Let’s just say I was blown away with the way he melds modern world music, jazz, and Western Africa together in one big yummy dessert.

“Sosa’s new Afreecanos ensemble features noted percussionist and educator, John Santos, Mozambican electric bassist, Childo Tomas, and New York-based saxophonist and flute player, Peter Apfelbaum. The ensemble fuses the folkloric with the contemporary, the ancestral with the urban – all with a Latin jazz heart.” (from the IDB website)

The review of Sosa’s Afreecanos at All About Jazz pretty much sums it up. “Fanta Cissoko’s passionate vocals open ‘Nene La Kanou’ on an intoxicating, personal note. Traditional African instruments blend with Cuban batá, as Sosa’s improvisation displays his gift for melodic invention. The intriguing ‘ngoni’ accompanies Mola Sylla’s vocals on ‘Mon Yalala,’ soon joined by kalimba and balafon. Sosa explores ideas around the vocal, eventually taking a spacious solo that blends beautifully into the song’s texture.”

Yeah. It’s like that. I like to just call it magical.

You can pick up Afreecanos and preorder his upcoming album, Across the Divide: A Tale of Rhythm and Ancestry, to be release on March 25, 2009 at Amazon.

This event is free, open to the public and held at the Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center, 1330 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC  20577, and one block from MetroCenter.
Photo ID required.  Business casual attire. Seats are unreserved general admission with only 380 seats available. Young people 8 years and older are welcome.

Béla Fleck on Tour

Béla Fleck's Africa Project
Image by kyle tsui via Flickr

Béla Fleck is on tour again and this time I hope not to miss him. His latest project is “Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From the Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3 – Africa Sessions” which is both music and a documentary film. Fans of Béla Fleck and West African music will not be disappointed.

The documentary follows Béla through Africa as he searches our the African roots of the banjo. (You did know that the Banjo originated from Africa, right?) Béla traveled to Tanzania, Uganda, the Gambia and Mali while recording his latest album with local influences. The documentary also covers Africa today from the eyes of of someone other than the doom and gloom of main-stream media. We get a look at Africa that is very different than the way it is portrayed in today’s media. Much like Neal Peart’s portrayal of the rich culture of Africa and the warms hearts of its people, the documentary opens the eyes of the viewer to the beauty of the continent that arguably holds the future to peace on planet Earth.

Béla Fleck and The African Project will be performing at The State Theatre in Fall Church, VA on April 9, 2009. Tickets are $50 in advance. See the State Theatre website for details.

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