Both in search of their African roots, Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and American singer Dee Dee Bridgewater shared the bill at the Jazz in Marciac Festival. France 24 presents a portrait of two artists.
One spoke of the spirits of ancestors; the other spoke of a love for the red earth of
Their musical voyage on the evening of Tuesday, August 5, took place amidst extreme weather: The concert had to be stopped for an hour to due to rain and wind. But neither musician got flustered; they say they’ve found a soothing fullness, an “at homeness”, in the music of the black continent. And nothing could distract them.
Sosa communed with the sky. The tent covering 6,000 people pitched in the wind, but the Cuban pianist was jubilant as he listened to Mother Nature belt out thunder and gusts of rain. “That storm was a blessing,” he enthused in an interview the day after the concert. “We usually live far from Mother Nature and all that we are made of: water, air and fire.”
Sosa’s fascination with
Listen to Omar Sosa:
In the steps of Randy Weston
The pianist discovered the links between African chants and the Cuban music he was taught in school in
“Twenty years ago, Cubans didn’t realise what Africans could bring to
Like pianist Randy Weston, Sosa’s “spiritual father”, he layers, intertwines and fuses.
“We don’t always realize it, but three or four cultures can cohabit the same song!” he often says.
Sosa doesn’t impose overpowering leaderships or tight constraints on his musicians, and their music is improvised on the spot. The 43-year-old pianist is amazed by the blend that comes about on stage, and he smiles blissfully witnessing music being created under his fingers.
“These days, jazz has become very intellectual,” he says. “I want to rediscover the beauty of its African roots, its irresistible dance, its trance.”
Dee Dee Bridgewater at Jazz in Marciac festival
Dee Dee in
“I was attracted by African rhythm. I like how you can dance to it!” she enthused backstage a few hours before the concert.
Her love for Africa blossomed in
“I’ve known for a while, since 2001, as I was working on my album of Kurt Weill songs, that it was there — in
Her introduction to traditional Malian music is lauded in the world of jazz.
“Dee Dee seems to have finally reconciled with herself,” wrote Alex Dutilh in the monthly Jazzman magazine.
“I’ve followed Dee Dee’s musical path,” said Sosa at the breakfast table. “And with this Malian project, I feel she’s saying: ‘I’ve come home.’ I was at the jam sessions at New Morning in
The singer expects to go home in September. She will go to
Date created : 2008-08-10