Yo (Montuno Producciones/Concord Jazz, 2013)
Cuban pianist, keyboardist and composer Roberto Fonseca has worked with some of the biggest names in Cuban music such as Omara Portuondo, Ibrahim Ferrer and Buena Vista Social. Now, with his irresistible new solo album, Yo, Roberto Fonseca has become a worldwide sensation too. The album came out in 2012 in Europe and now it is available in North America.
Yo, which means “I” in Spanish, is a formidable recording, where Fonseca showcases his talent and sense of innovation. Although Fonseca is generally considered a jazz musician, his music crosses over dramatically into solid world music territory and beyond, caressing cutting edge electronica.
While other world class Cuban pianists are exploring traditional forms of jazz, flamenco and Latin jazz, Fonseca is a groundbreaker, incorporating the sounds of Africa, Cuban roots and carnival-like music, and the coolest electronic grooves, venturing into trip-hop.
Roberto Fonseca’s musical partners on Yo are equally striking. Yo features African musicians Baba Sissoko on African percussion and backing vocals, Etienne Mbappe on bass, Sekou Kouyate on kora, and Munir Hossn on guitar; Cubans instrumentalists Joel Hierrezuelo on Cuban percussion, Ramses Rodriguez on drums and Felipe Cabrera on double bass.
The guest vocalists include rai star Faudel, Malian sensation Fatoumata Diawara, talented Senegalese singer Assane Mboup and the spoken word of American artist Mike Ladd.
“This album unveils the beginning of a new phase more than the closure of an old one,”
describes Fonseca. “On Yo, I want to delve deep into my roots in light of my experiences and show the diversity of my musical universe, all these ideas which I had put aside, unable to use until now.”
Yo is a truly superb album by one of the most exhilarating Cuban artists of our time.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.