Omar and his Quarteto Afro-Cubano will perform his 2015 album, ‘Ile’, which means ‘homeland’ in the Yoruba language of West Africa, and signifies the maestro’s return to his Latin-jazz roots. Omar says all his shows, no matter where he is in the world, have a singular, guiding principle. “It’s simple, I have a philosophy,” Omar says.
“If you give love, there is no reason you don’t receive love. You know, sometimes music is what helps to give love to people, we give love to music and we try to connect the people with our tradition, with our sound, with our soul, and our music makes this happen. So we’re gonna bring love and groove, man, that’s all.
“We’re going to have a good time, it’s so simple. There’s nothing complex behind it, sometimes people try to make everything too complex, but it’s so simple man.
"You need to be yourself, you need to be honest with yourself and say what you need to say. We don’t play pop music; to play pop music you need to be the same guy every day until you die, but you’re going to be miserable,” he laughs.
The Quarteto Afro-Cubano line-up for the Sydney show consists of Omar on piano and Fender Rhodes, and Leandro St. Hill on saxophone both of who hail from Camagüey in Cuba; drummer Lukmil Perez (replacing Ernesto Simpson) was born in Havana and bassist Childo Tomas comes from Mozambique.
“Basically, the music we present is our tradition,” Omar explains, “and in Cuba we have strong African tradition with the religion, the Santeria. Actually, the Santeria religion is a development of West African Yoruba tradition.
“So with that element and Childo Tomas on bass, he represents the deep, profound Africa in himself when he plays. All the music on earth has come from Africa, even jazz, and we use jazz as a philosophy of freedom, because it is the only style of music that compiles all our styles without any fighting.”
In a career spanning more than 20 years and nearly 30 albums, including collaborations outside the Quarteto, Omar has blended the traditional elements of his homeland with classical and contemporary styles, which he hopes to pass on to his Australian audiences. “Jazz is freedom, and based in that freedom we’re going to pass to the people our traditions, with freedom, unity, love and integrity,” he says.
“It’s important because we need to know really well our traditions to make our tradition in a contemporary way. The jazz gives us this opportunity, and we love to do this because we are happy and if we are happy, the people are going to be happy, don’t worry.
“Our role is sharing our tradition with people, and this is our message. This is why we go to Australia. We love Australia, it’s really far but every time we go there we have a good time. I have really good memories and the people love to party, this is something I like.”
Omar Sosa ShowsWed 15 Feb - Perth International Arts Festival
Fri 17 Feb - Brisbane Powerhouse
Sun 19 Feb - The Basement (Sydney)