I am very proud and happy to announce that Omar Sosa and I are going to present a new joint Creole Spirit musical project. We had many discussions about creating a project together for years: a symbiotic meeting of Haitian and Cuban spiritual traditions, enmeshed in the language of modern jazz.
Fate would put us on the same concert circuit several times, but 24h apart… Finally we appeared on the same stage in Nevers. Omar invited me for 4 songs. The complicity was immediate, almost frighteningly energetic and luminous. After this exchange, it was agreed that the Haiti Cuba project would take priority in our respective agenda, because of the musical potential, as well as the symbolic power of such a concept, both in term of history and identity.
As you probably know, pianist Omar Sosa has become the uncontested leader of a wave Cuban Jazz inspired by the spiritual traditions of Santeria. On my side, after bringing Gwoka-Jazz to stages worldwide, I have turned to Voodoo Jazz with the release of the Jazz Racine Haiti CD.
Historically, Voodoo culture is an essential foundation of modern arts. Originally from the African Kingdom of Dahomey, it spread in the Americas and North Africa, through slavery. Voodoo became the seed for many cultural movements in music and plastic arts. All substantial music in these regions, share the same voodoo roots: Gnawa music in North Africa, Candomble in Brazil, Bata and Santeria in Cuba, Voodoo music in Haiti, and also in Lousiana, where its wide variety of rhythms, dissonances, structures, scales and modes, have set the path for Blues, Jazz and Gospel- with little or no mention of it all.
This summit between Haitian and Cuban spiritual music, under our joint gavel, would display the founding and unifying power of Voodoo music in the Americas and beyond. We will hence share a residence in Guadeloupe the first week of April, and present a first concert at Centre Culturel Sonis in les Abymes (Guadeloupe) on April 4th. The band would be comprised of Moonlight Benjamin (vcls, Haiti), Martha Galarraga (vcls, Cuba), Claude Saturne (perc, Haiti), Gustavo Ovalles (perc, Cuba), Omar (pno) and I (sax).
Following steps will be a performance for the Memorial Act on May 10th in Guadeloupe, a week at the Blue Note in the fall, and eventually to record a CD during the summer for an early 2016 release. All these steps will constitute the basis for a high quality documentary that would be suitable for TV or film festivals. That would entail shooting sequences in Haiti and Cuba as well. That film would cover the making off the music, and tell the story of a fascinating tradition through the people carrying it today…