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Geller Jazz Series: SUBA Trio — Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita, featuring Gustavo Ovalles

April 16, 2023 @
7:30 p.m.
Eastern Time
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Click here for tickets ($20 general admission/$10 with Clark ID)

“The unhurried elegance of what Sosa calls ‘minimalismo’ articulates this utterly modern musical idiom.” – London’s Morning Star

“Oceanic – a useful description of the otherwise impossible-to-categorize music of Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita, which not only bridges the Atlantic from Cuba to Senegal, but offers a genuine ‘world music.’” – Downbeat

Charismatic and virtuosic, Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita share a special musical chemistry that inspires audiences. A unique fusion, SUBA is a collaboration of Cuban-born jazz piano virtuoso Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora (21-string harp lute) master Seckou Keita that brilliantly embraces jazz, Latin and African influences, and reflects the close and compassionate listening of artists engaged in a captivating musical conversation. In this, they are joined by the inimitable Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles, who brings the polyrhythmic sound of the African diaspora to the exchange. The result is a kind of musical cosmopolitanism.

SUBA is a hymn to hope, to a new dawn of compassion and change in a post-pandemic world, and a visceral reiteration of humanity’s prayer for peace and unity. The program weaves together themes of friendship and spiritual connection, travel and loss, hope and optimism, dancing and the sea, and a new sunrise. “Suba” means “sunrise” in Mandinka, Seckou’s native language, and sunrise is his favorite time of day, a time of freshness and hope. “Even if you are facing some difficulties, you reset your brain to normal. You see the dawn as a new day, a new peace, something new, good or bad, something exciting. That was the feeling I had when I was writing with Omar.”

Annually performing upwards of 100 concerts on six continents, Omar Sosa has appeared in venues as diverse as the Blue Note (New York, Milan, and Tokyo), Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and festivals that include Monterey Jazz, JVC Jazz, Spoletto, and WOMAD. Mr. Sosa received a lifetime achievement award from the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, DC in 2003 for his contribution to the development of Latin jazz in the United States. He has received two nominations from the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards, in 2004 and 2006, both in the ‘Americas’ category. In 2003 Omar Sosa received the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Album of the Year Award from the Jazz Journalists Association in NYC; and a nomination from the Jazz Journalists Association for Latin Jazz Album of the Year. He has composed symphonies, soundtracks, and released over 40 albums, seven of which were nomination for Grammys or Latin Grammys. Their names read like the way-markers of a spiritual quest: Across The Divide (2008), Mulatos (2005), Eggún: The Afri-Lectric Experience (2013), Aguas (2018), An East African Journey (2021).

Seckou Keita was born in Ziguinchor, Senegal. He is a descendant of the Malian Keita family of kings who are a griot family (hereditary musicians). He launched his international career in 1996 with appearances at Norway’s Forde Festival in a successful collaboration with Cuban, Indian and Scandinavian musicians. In the years that followed, Keita relocated to the United Kingdom, while touring regularly in Spain, France, Portugal, Greece and the Czech Republic as well as playing at such festivals as WOMAD and Glastonbury, both as a solo musician, and in collaboration with acclaimed figures like Indian violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam. He was named BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year in 2019, a startling choice for such a blue-blooded British institution.

Selma Geller was a New York City philanthropist who died in 2007. She was deeply concerned about the lack of musical educational opportunities available to the current generation of students. Her gifts to Clark University for music scholarships and musical performances are a testament to her desire to bring the original American musical art form to the Clark community.

Other events in our series:

Monday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m.
Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums, a new documentary
A Q&A with Soren Sorensen, Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita will follow the screening
Free and Open to the Public
Reservations required

Wednesday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m.
Donald Harrison Quintet
With opening set by the Fabian Almazan Quartet
Razzo Hall, Traina Center for the Arts
Tickets required ($25 general admission/$10 with Clark ID

You may also purchase a ticket for all three events in the Geller Jazz: Havana to New Orleans series ($30 general admission/$12 with a Clark ID)


April 16, 2023
7:30 p.m.



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