Omar Sosa and Yilian Cañizares are both astonishingly gifted musicians whose reputations have been somewhat eclipsed (grossly unfairly, one might add) by those instrumentalists who put their virtuosity often on gratuitous display; he, more so than she because he is perceived to have worked more in Europe than in the US. It is probably not the case at all and if anything, Mr Sosa has stuck more stubbornly to his African-Cuban roots of worshipful music deeply steeped in Santeria. Miss Cañizares is simply not as well-known as she ought to be. In the grander scheme of things musical, this record Aguas may be about to change all of this forever.
Editor’s Pick · Featured Album · Omar Sosa, Yilian Cañizares: Aguas
The recording if anything delves deeper into the practice of Lucumi and Mr Sosa’s broodingly percussive tumbling grooves featuring vaunted arpeggios and dazzling runs is combined with the rippling, fiery double-stops and the eloquent arco and pizzicato techniques that Miss Cañizares employs to weave her aristocratic violin lines into Mr Sosa’s pianistic ones. She also increases the beauty of this music exponentially with her lithe and hypnotic vocals. Together they create music where there’s a prevailing sensuousness to the vocal and instrumental writing that is accentuated by the dramatic momentum provided by the delicate and jubilant percussion of Inor Sotolongo as well.
Meanwhile Omar Sosa plays with an extreme otherworldliness, his raw modal harmonies providing an edge that swings from the raw and visceral to the lithe and the elegant. The music is a highly personal creation of great spirituality, and the often ghostly melodic and interwoven harmonic lines make for an overwhelming sense of pervading mystery. But there is a deeply felt awe at the power and presence of Ochun – Goddess of Love, Mistress of Rivers; all water – summoned by both the dreamy pianism and Miss Cañizares’ undulating violin as well.
Lyrics have been written to some of the songs and their eloquent poetry adds to the mystique of the music whose subtle chromaticism perfectly captures the often bittersweet mood of the poems in which memories of love and devotion are prompted by chance associations with nature or everyday impressions. In the end the word-painting by Miss Cañizares together with her violin playing as in the breathy wailing on “La Respiracion” together with some exquisitely delicate piano writing make this an exceptionally poignant cycle.
All of this has been captured in the ambient warmth of a powerfully dramatic recording that brings out the richly varied sonorities of each piece with subtlety and restraint.
Track list – 1: Duo De Aguas; 2: Dos Bendiciones; 3: De la Habana y Otras Nostalgias; 4: Milonga; 5: O Le Le; 6: Sanzara; 7: Sonrisas de Niños; 8: Oshun; 9: Se Van Los Mios; 10: La Respiracion; 11: D2 de Africa
Personnel – Omar Sosa: acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, keyboards, programming and samples, and backing vocals; Yilian Cañizares: violin, vocals, programming and samples; Inor Sotolongo: percussion
Released – 2018
Label – Otá Records
Runtime – 55:31