Transparent Water is the new studio collaboration between 7-time GRAMMY-nominated pianist-composer-bandleader Omar Sosa and London-based Senegalese singer and kora master Seckou Keita. It’s slated for release in January 2017.
The project idea grew out of Sosa’s impromptu addition to a mid–2012 date with drummer Marque Gilmore at the CLF Art Café in London, in what was Sosa and Keita’s first musical encounter. Profoundly moved by the experience, Omar told Seckou he wanted to invite him to work together on a future recording project.
Given their respective touring and recording schedules, it took a year, but in July 2013 Omar and Seckou went into the Fattoria Musica recording studio in Osnabrück, Germany and laid down the core tracks for Transparent Water.
Another chance meeting informs Transparent Water: in April 2013, Galician bagpiper-pianist-composer Cristina Pato invited Omar to Santiago de Compostela, where Pato hosts an annual residency frequented by associates of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. There Omar met Silk Road charter member and sheng master Wu Tong, whom Omar was moved to bring into the project. In connection with a concert date in Shanghai in July 2014, Omar arranged a side trip to Beijing to record Wu Tong’s traditional flute overdubs.
Tokyo-born, Paris-based koto player Mieko Miyazaki came to Omar’s attention via her recorded work with French jazz guitarist Nguyên Lê. When Omar finally had the chance to meet her, Mieko’s creative spirit utterly impressed him, and he enlisted her distinctive voice for Transparent Water.
For percussion, Omar turned to longtime collaborator Gustavo Ovalles, who divides his time between France and his native Venezuela. Ovalles (who can be heard on three prior Sosa projects—Sentir, Ayaguna, and Egg?n) brings the polyrhythmic soul of the African Diaspora to Transparent Water.
Paris-based drummer-producer Steve Argüelles crafted the mix with Omar, having previously worked on Sosa’s award-winning Mulatos and Afreecanos CDs.
Transparent Water is the latest example of Omar Sosa’s transcendent determination to seek new combinations, a manifestation of improvisatory freedom wherein the musical destination is subordinate to the extemporaneous joy of shared artistic expression. Omar observes that, as he did with Sentir, “What I wanted to do was create something totally improvised.”
Transparent Water—suggestive of translucence and flowing light—is a deeply spiritual recording that reveals its inspiration in the close and compassionate listening of artists engaged in a genial and captivating musical conversation, liberated from time itself, reaching across five continents to probe the collective spirit of the human condition.