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Omar Sosa: Sentir

Omar Sosa’s music is a collage of sounds, prayers, rap, rumba and virtuoso piano. On Sentir the 37-year-old from Camaguey, Cuba, ties together the African-based musical branches of Morocco, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and the United States. With jazz feeling and harmony, Sosa dances over a tapestry of ambient folk chants, spoken word and a waterfall of rhythms. The traditional guembri, bata drums and Afro-Venezuelan hand percussion create a tonal fusion that beautifully supports the voices of Martha Galarraga (Cuba), Yassir Chadly (Morocco), Sub Z (U.S.A.) and others.

From “Opening for Eleggu ” to the gentle conclusion of the title track, the compositions peel off with surprising freshness, each standing on its own merit. “Manto Blanco” combines all the sonic flavors as well as the rap poetry of Terence Nicholson (aka Sub Z). “Oda al Negro” is Sosa at his instrumental best. With a fanciful but firm grace, he interacts spontaneously for an intriguing dialogue with Gustavo Ovalles (Venezuela) who plays the culo e’ puya hand drum.

Recorded in Barcelona, Spain, where he now resides, and around Oakland, Calif., where he lived for many years, the resonance of the acoustic grand piano is rich and bold letting his chordal crashes and well thought out dissonances ring with clarity. “Sentir” means to “feel” in Spanish and what Sosa delivers on this artistic marvel shows that he is an improvisational adventurer creating musical unity.

Originally Published