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Omar Sosa: The Flavor of Africa

Inside the Cuban musician’s grand musical and cultural fusions

Omar Sosa by Massimo Mantovani

It’s human nature: If you have something before your eyes every day, you stop seeing it,” says Cuban pianist, percussionist, composer and arranger Omar Sosa, who turned 45 on April 10. “In Cuba we have such a potent African tradition that I don’t think we’ve paid enough attention to it.

“Most of the music that the world has heard from Cuba is from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s: son montuno, mambo, cha cha cha, danzón,” Sosa continues. “But if we look deeper, in Cuba we find music and cultural remainders from so many places in Africa: Congo, West Africa, East Africa, North Africa. Before I left Cuba, I saw all those things in separate compartments. What I’m trying to do now is to put them all in one place.”

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