Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita, with Gustavo Ovalles, bring Cuba and Mother Africa back together in “Suba” which means “sunrise” in Mandinka. From Cuba, Africa is where the sun rises.
By coming together in our roots, this group makes the most ethereal music. It’s not what we call “soul music” in the United States, but it is soul music by every other definition.
We’ve been through a lot in New York and America these last few years. This kind of reunion is what we all need. The function of artists today is to heal the wounds of the past, and help us to envision a brighter future. That’s what Sosa, Keita, and Ovalles bring to the New York stage.
Roulette Intermedium is known for experimental music theatre. The experiment here is can we reunite. And the answer is a life-reaffirming: YES WE CAN.
Omar Sosa, Seckou Keita and Gustavo Ovalles
- Omar Sosa is a seven-time Grammy nominee who explores African musical cultures and their connections to his Afro-Cuban roots.
- Seckou Keita is one of the most influential Senegalese kora players of his generation. The kora is the ancestor of the American banjo, but it sounds more etherial like a harp.
- Gustavo Ovalles is a Venezuelan percussionist who plays the polyrhythmic sound of the African Diaspora.
In generations past, our ancestors were separated across the water. But now water, the essential element of life, brings us together. Each of these artists is a trip all by themselves. Together, they are a great journey. This is music of the ether, music of the heart, music of the soul. If you want to feel good, this is where you need to go.
Mandinka (Mandingo) is the official language of Senegal, the northernmost country in West Africa. It is also spoken in parts of Mali, Gambia, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea-Bissau and Chad.
The colonial borders make no sense. Mandinka is a West African language of the Sahel, the transition zone from the Sahara Desert of North Africa to the grasslands and forests of Sub-Saharan Africa.
A lot of American culture comes from here. There’s the banjo, the blue note (diminished 7th), the warbling of gospel, and the blues itself. Blues is the beginning of most of the popular music of the United States.
Mother Africa is so big and diverse that there are many more things to reunite with. But this is a great start because it has so much to do with American culture.
Because it’s closer to the United States, this region is one of the main roots of African American culture, which sprouted into so many wonderful sounds, when the colonizers took away the drum.
This is not religious music, but if you are a spiritual person, you will feel something in this music. That’s not an opinion. It’s the simple truth.
Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita in New York City
Omar Sosa, Seckou Keita and Gustavo Ovalles revisit their hit global music albums “Suba” (Dawn) and “Transparent Water” for Robert Browning Associates at Roulette Intermedium in Boerum Hill (Downtown), Brooklyn; on Thursday, May 4, 2023 at 8pm. From $30. 🇨🇺 🇸🇳 🇻🇪