Continuing the development his groundbreaking World-Jazz sound, Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa combines traditional vocals and rhythms from Cuba, Morocco and Venezuela with contemporary jazz harmonies and spoken word in an extraordinary new recording full of passion and spontaneity. Featured on the CD are Moroccan vocalist and multi-instrumentalist El Houssaine Kili, Cuban/Yoruba vocalist Martha Galarraga, and Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles.

As part of his ongoing exploration of the African roots of music in the Americas, Omar’s concept for Sentir involves each musician using his or her own folkloric expressions and finding a common musical vocabulary for communication and improvisation. Another part of Omar’s approach involves the use of color as the basis of musical expression and the commonality of these ‘spiritual zones’ or trance states within the African Diaspora. The result is a fresh and poignant sound – one that celebrates the strong affinity of traditional musical roots and religious ceremonies in these cultures.

Omar brings together the guembri, a traditional musical instrument from the Gnawa culture of North Africa, with bata drums, and Afro-Venezuelan percussion instruments such as the quitipla and culo e’ puya. The guembri replaces the usual acoustic bass, and the darbukkah and tan-tan, both percussion instruments from Morocco, often replace the smaller bata drums. Several tracks feature the lyrics of Washington, DC-based spoken word artist Sub-Z. Also contributing to the project are San Francisco-based percussionist John Santos and a number of Moroccan musicians including Yassir Chadly, Bouchaib Abdelhadi, and Moulay M’Hamed Enneji Fakihan (Nass Marrakech).