By Alain Drouot | Published May 2017
Transparent Water marks the first full-blown encounter between Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita. From the onset, a dreamlike and spiritual state emerges. On more than one occasion, time seems to come to a standstill and notes appear to float. But overall, the result is more akin to Keita’s cultural heritage than to Sosa’s Afro-Cuban musical background.
On several tracks, Sosa and Keita invite some guest musicians to partake in their explorations, most notably Chinese sheng player Wu Tong of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Japanese koto player Mieko Miyazaki and Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles, a longtime collaborator of the Cuban musician. The inclusion of these artists enables the palette of sonorities and textures to expand significantly while emphasizing the universality of music and its many underlying connections.
For Sosa and Keita, Transparent Water is a high mark and one of their most satisfying productions—as well as the first stage in a collaboration that could bear even more fruits in the future.
Transparent Water: Dary; In The Forest; Black Dream; Mining-Nah; Tama-Tama; Another Prayer; Fatiliku; Oni Yalorde; Peace Keeping; Moro Yeye; Recaredo 1993; Zululand; Thiossane. (60:30)
Personnel: Omar Sosa, keyboards, vocals; Seckou Keita, kora, percussion, vocals; Wu Tong, sheng (3, 6, 11), bawu (8, 10); Mieko Miyazaki, koto (6, 11, 13); Gustavo Ovalles, percussion (1, 4, 9, 10, 12); E’Joung- Ju, geojungo (9); Mosin Khan Kawa, nagadi (5); Dominique Huchet, bird sound effects (9).