New Yor-Uba celebrates 30 years with their 2013 debut recording and September 10, 2013 CD release. Featuring Pedrito Martinez on lead vocals, this recording captures and represents a new chapter in the innovative ensemble’s extensive and impressive history.
A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America
A dynamic musical journey spanning the ancient Yoruba culture from Nigeria Paying homage to its living contemporary manifestations.
Renowned pianist and composer Michele Rosewoman presents New Yor-Uba: A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America, featuring fellow masters from the worlds of contemporary jazz and Cuban folkloric music.
The name “New Yor-Uba” reflects the progression of the music of the anicent Yoruba people from Nigeria, through Cuba to present day New York. Brass, saxophones, and a rhythm section complement key Cuban elements including three bata and conga drummers, traditional vocals and dance. New Yor-Uba salutes the Orishas (Yoruban deities) in a contemporary jazz setting with a distinctive repertoire featuring Ms. Rosewoman’s original compositions and visionary arrangements of centuries-old Yoruba (Nigeria) and Arara (Dahomey) cantos (chants).
Ms. Rosewoman’s life-long immersion in both traditions led to the formation of New Yor-Uba. Her interest in Cuban music was born in a home full of music and art. Exposed in her early years to the great jazz traditions and to spiritually-based music from around the world, she began playing piano at age 6. In her late teens she began playing congas and percussion, studying African-based drum and vocal traditions, specifically Cuban and Haitian forms, with an emphasis on the ritualized, spiritual aspects of the music. These early explorations would profoundly impact Rosewoman’s musical direction with a pervasive influence on the formation of her sound as a pianist and composer. She is credited as one of the first in bringing together Cuban Folkloric music with a thoroughly contemporary jazz concept for an uncompromised synthesis of these two profound musical idioms.
Upon coming to New York in 1978, Rosewoman continued to nurture her collaborative work with various jazz illuminaries and also began playing with Cuban dance bands. She soon formed an important association with the late Cuban master drummer/vocalist Orlando “Puntilla” Rios. A repository of tradition, he was both a mentor and a member of her New Yor-Uba ensemble; and, since its inception, provided Rosewoman with a valuable organic source which took shape through her vision and which continues to evolve.
Early support from the National Endowment for the Arts facilitated Michele Rosewoman’s premiere of the pioneering 14-piece ensemble featuring the late ‘Puntilla’, at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater in New York City. The ensemble’s sold -out debut in 1983 signaled the emergence of an important new voice and the program received rave reviews in the New York Times and The Village Voice.
New Yor-Uba has since performed at major festivals and venues throughout Europe and the United States. Ms. Rosewoman was also among the first to bring an undiluted form of Cuban folklore into New York City jazz clubs.
With a 30-year history, New Yor-Uba’s concept and sound remain incredibly vital. Now an 11-a-piece ensemble, Rosewoman continues to enhance the ensemble’s repertoire with new music and personnel, further inspiring her to reflect and explore the links between these deep musical traditions.
Michele Rosewoman has performed with many Jazz and Latin greats including, in the Latin music genre, the late Celia Cruz, Paquito D’Rivera, Andy Gonzales, Roberto Borrell, Daniel Ponce, Chocolate, Nicky Marrero Dave Valentin, and Puntilla’s Nueva Generac