The song Fatiliku by Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora player is the winner of the 2017 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) in the world music category. Daby Toure won second place and Gawurra (Australia) came in third.
The Grand Prize winners this year are Nicholas Miller (better known as Illenium), Annika Wells, Kate Morgan, and Michael Biancaniello for the song Crawl Outta Love Ft. Annika Wells. Illenium (along with co-writers Keeley Bumford, Henri Lanz, and William Rappaport) is also the First Place winner in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) category for his song Fractures Ft. Nevve. The Grand Prize consists of $25,000 in cash (USD) and over $35,000 in additional prizes.
Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita recently released a highly acclaimed album titled Transparent Water.
ISC honors 71 winners total, with prizes awarded to First, Second, and Third Place in 23 categories, plus an overall Grand Prize winner and the Peoples’ Voice winner, selected by public vote. An additional 274 winners are recognized with an Honorable Mention. Prizes include more than $175,000 in cash and merchandise.
Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, one of the leading jazz pianists and Senegalese kora maestro Seckou Keita, along with Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles, are set to perform on Tuesday, March 20th at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, North Carolina at 8:00 p.m.
The trio will present the US debut tour of their Transparent Water album. Transparent Water was the number 1 world music album in March 2017 at the Transglobal World Music Chart.
Acclaimed Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and Germany’s NDR Bigband are set to release Es:sensual on January 18. This is the international release of this album that previously available only in Germany.
Es:sensual is a continuation of pianist and composer Omar Sosa’s collaboration with Hamburg’s NDR Bigband (North German Radio-Norddeutscher Rundfunk) and renowned Brazilian cellist, composer and arranger Jaques Morelenbaum, whose inaugural effort can be heard on the Omar Sosa-NDR Bigband CD Ceremony (Otá, 2010).
We announce the list of best world music albums of 2017. The selection was made by a panel of editors and contributors from World Music Central and its affiliate Spanish-language world music magazine Músicas del Mundo.
The list includes 11 albums because 5 recordings were tied for 7th place.
Top World Music Albums in 2017
1. Trio da Kali & Kronos Quartet – Ladilikan (World Circuit Records) – USA/Mali
2. Raúl Rodriguez – La Raíz (Boa Musica Editorial) – Spain
“Our list reflects the diversity of the world music scene and our panelists. Our writers are based in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia,” says World Music Central’s Managing Director Angel Romero.
World Music Central is an international online publication with readers worldwide that includes news, reviews, artist biographies, glossaries and other resources. Genres featured include traditional and contemporary folk music, world fusion, global electronica, flamenco, tango, bluegrass, salsa, reggae and any other genre rooted in traditional music.
World Music Central’s 2017 panel includes Daryana Antipova, Tom Orr, Rafael Mieses, Madanmohan Rao, Dorothy Johnson-Laird and Angel Romero Ruiz.
Renowned world music presenter Robert Browning has announced the artists that are scheduled to perform in New York City during the winter/spring 2018 season.
The 2018 winter/spring program includes guitarist and vocalist extraordinaire Paolo Angeli, who mixes jazz and other genres with the music of his native Sardinia (Jan 26); masterful flamenco with guitar virtuoso José Antonio Rodríguez, who will be making his first New York appearance since 2010 (Mar 3); the fiery Gypsy flamenco vocalist Antonio Montoya presenting Versos olvidados (Forgotten Verses), a tribute to the women poets of the Generation of 1927 (Mar 16).
Also scheduled: ‘ud (lute) and violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen, Qantara, and the Qantara Berklee Ensemble performing a remarkable program of Arab film music (Mar 17); two celebrated artists, Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora (harp-lute) player Seckou Keita, combining jazz, Latin and African influences (Mar 22).
The great multi-instrumentalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek, a brilliant interpreter of Sufi, folk and contemporary music of the Middle East (Apr 14); and the Fourth Annual A World in Trance Festival featuring the music of Afghanistan with Homayoun Sakhi, the outstanding Afghan rubab (lute) player of his generation (Apr 27); the music of India with Ustad Shahid Parvez, one of the world’s leading sitarists (Apr 28); and spiritual and mystical Persian classical music with virtuoso Hossein Omoumi, one of the leading Persian ney (flute) players (Apr 29).
Fri Jan 26, 8:30pm, Zankel Hall – Sardinia’s Paolo Angeli, vocals & guitar***
Sat Mar 3, 8:00pm, Roulette – Flamenco Festival: José Antonio Rodríguez, Flamenco Guitar Maestro**
Fri Mar 16, 8:00pm, Roulette – Flamenco Festival – Flamenco Eñe: Angelita Montoya, Versos Olvidados (Forgotten Verses): A Tribute to Women Poets**
Sat Mar 17, 8:00pm, Roulette – Musical Gems of the Arab Cinema: Simon Shaheen & Qantara with guest group Qantara Berklee Ensemble *
Sat Apr 14, 8:30pm, Zankel Hall- Sufi, Folk & Contemporary Music of Turkey & the Middle East: Omar Faruk Tekbilek***
Fri Apr 27-Sun Apr 29 Roulette – 4th Annual A World in Trance Festival
Fri Apr 27, 8:00pm, Roulette – A World in Trance – Afghanistan: Homayoun Sakhi*
Sat Apr 28, 8:00pm, Roulette – A World in Trance – India: Ustad Shahid Parvez*
Sun Apr 29, 7:00pm, Roulette – A World in Trance – Persia: Hossein Omoumi*
*Presented by Robert Browning Associates with Lotus Music & Dance
**Presented by Robert Browning Associates in partnership with Flamenco Festival
***Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with Robert Browning Associates
Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita’s album Transparent Water (Ota Records, 2017) is the Transglobal World Music Chart’s number one album for March 2017.
Transparent Water elegantly combines world music and jazz. The album features Omar Sosa (Cuba) on piano and Seckou Keita (Senegal) on kora along with traditional Chinese flute player Wu Tong, Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles, and Japanese koto player Mieko Miyazaki.
Music fans should settle in and enjoy the sumptuous ride that is Transparent Water. Co-creator Omar Sosa, the Cuban-born composer, bandleader and pianist, has such recordings as Eggun – The Afri-Lectric Experience, Jog, Ile and Calma under his belt, while Seckou Keita, the Senegalese kora master, has released albums like 22 Strings/Cordes, Afro-Mandinka Soul with his own Seckou Keita Quartet and Clychau Dibon. Joining forces under the Ota Records label, Transparent Water, set for release on February 24th, pairs Mr. Sosa’s Afro-Cuban and jazz sensibilities with the lush African traditions of Mr. Keita’s long musical legacy of his griot family.
Transparent Water is where world music meets world jazz, where tradition meets improvisation and where the lines of spiritual and earthy meet. The result is stunningly evocative.
With Mr. Sosa on piano, Fender Rhodes, sampling, microKorg and vocals and Mr. Keita firmly enticing listeners with his kora mastery, as well as talking drum, djembe, sabar and vocals, listeners are treated to the interplay between these two musicians and composers. But as luck would have it, Mr. Sosa and Mr. Keita turn the music on its ears with the additions of Chinese musician Wu Tong on sheng and bawu; Japanese koto master Mieko Miyazaki; Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles on bata drums, culo’puya, maracas, guataca, calabaza and clave; Korean geojungo player E’Joung-Ju; and Rajasthani nagadi player Mosin Khan Kawa.
Cuban rhythms, African melodies and Asian influences pile up, separate and mesh together in an expansive musical tapestry where it’s impossible to pull at one musical thread and undo the lot.
Like water, Transparent Water flows easy from the jazzy opening track “Dary” into the delicately piano and kora interplay of “In the Forest.” Lush track flows into lush track with goodies like the sheng laced “Black Dream,” the catchy African influenced “Mining-Nah” with Mr. Keita’s vocals warming up the track and mysteriously moody “Another Prayer.”
Listeners can’t help but be charmed by tracks like sassy offering “Fatiliku,” the dreamy musical landscape of “Oni Yalorde” with Mr. Tong on the bawu or the piano lines of “Zululand.” Transparent Water is one of those recordings that requires listeners stop and really listen and it’s best if you just go with its flow.
Mr. Sosa, Mr. Keita and company have conjured up a truly brilliant collaboration on Transparent Water. Mesmerizing, evocative and sophisticated, Transparent Water begs for a listen.
Omar Sosa and Paolo Fresu – Eros (Tuk Music/Ota Records, 2016)
Luxuriously elegant, seductive and exotically dreamy, the Tuk Music release Eros, born out of the collaborative efforts of Cuban musician and composer Omar Sosa and Italian musician and composer Paolo Fresu, is one of those exciting CDs where you just have no idea what’s coming around the next bend.
Dramatically packed with savory bits and bites of electronica, musical samplings and offbeat percussion, as well as the mastery of Mr. Sosa’s piano lines and Mr. Fresu’s trumpet and flugelhorn lines, Eros conjures up jazz, world music and dreamy musicscape and sometime all at once. Add in the vocals of Natacha Atlas and cello by Jaques Morelenbaum and Eros goes from extraordinary to extravagantly superb.
Opening with the sleek coolness of “Teardrop/Ya Habibi” with vocals by Ms. Atlas and trumpet lines by Mr. Fresu so good it will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Full of surprises, Eros never quite goes where you think it will so when “Sensuousness” combines a throat singer with cello, piano and trumpet in a track so utterly elegant it’s a little odd but it works in a big way.
Listeners get savvy coolness with tracks like “Zeus’ Desires” and “Brezza del Verano.” “My Soul, My Spirit” with vocals by Ms. Atlas against a backdrop of strings, electronica and birdsong is a simply stunning. Other goodies include “La Llamada,” the fantastical world conjured on “What Is Inside/Himeros” and exotically charged “Eros Mediterraneo.”
Eros is savage coolness. Forget what you know about the piano, trumpet or the way you think a track will progress. Ditch the map and just go with where the music will take you.