JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of the video for “Aggua” by Roberto Fonseca, directed by Joseph Ros. The track appears on the Cuban pianist’s upcoming ninth album, Yesun, which will be released by Mack Avenue on October 18.
Written by Fonseca, “Aggua” features him on acoustic piano and overdubbed electronic keyboards and percussion, performing with bassist Yandy Martínez Rodriguez and drummer Raúl Herrera—the customary rhythm section for his twice-weekly trio gigs at the Havana jazz club La Zorro y el Cuervo. Originally the tune was an instrumental, but during the recording session Fonseca added lyrics, which he sings himself, with help from vocalists Yipsi Li Avila and Mercedes Cortés. Conguero Adel González added some percussive flourishes as well. (Guests elsewhere on Yesun include rapper/singer Danay Suarez, saxophonist Joe Lovano, and trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf.)
“This tune felt very natural to write,” Fonseca says. “I wanted to represent my Cuban roots with a tumbao, and I wanted to shake up some stuff … We have a little mambo and rumba, some reggaeton and hip-hop. I’m combining all these elements to make something tender but also powerful and spiritual. This song is calling people to a party so nice it will fill your soul completely.”
In Ros’ high-concept video, the party in question is in fact such a happening that it calls forth the orisha deities of the Afro-Cuban Santeria religion: in this instance, Yemaya, variously the mother of Fonseca’s designated warrior-deity Chango, the protectress of children, and the mother of the sea.
Just in case you feel like singing along, here are the lyrics to “Aggua,” in Spanish and English:
Pa la rumba vamos ya
Que yo quiero guayarachar
(We are going to the rumba
We want to enjoy the party)