Rafael Zaldívar: Consecration

This album from the Québec-based Rafael Zaldívar entitled Consecration is completely sonically apposite to almost anything Afro-Cuban you might be used to listening to. An extraordinarily gifted pianist, Mr Zaldívar was born in the south central Cuban province of Camagüey, which would likely make him ancestrally-speaking from Fon, Ewe, Popo, Mahi, and other some ethnic group, from the Kingdom of Dahomey, and it would also explain his visceral tendency towards the religious practice and music aligned with “Arará”; native to Dahomey and to Cuba, where it was exported ages ago. All of this makes Mr Zaldívar’s 2019 spiritual and sonic journey on Consecration uniquely different from anything recorded by a musician of Afro-Cuban origin anywhere in the world today – including Omar Sosa, who because of the innate spirituality of his music, would invariably come to mind.

Rafael Zaldivar: Consecration
Rafael Zaldivar: Consecration

Mr Zaldívar is a daring improviser who extends his penchant for musical adventure in melodic, harmonic as well as rhythmic ways. But it is the application of his ideas and the voice of his inner aural voice that is most interestingly expressed in his novel use of prepared keyboards; the innovate sound world that he creates and magnificent array of colours and textures that result and eventually make for nuanced expression of each subtle change in emotion that occurs as the pianist passes through the rite of passage en route to his proverbial Consecration.

The music then – right from “A Rock con Leche” through to the final sigh of “Aché (Through the Consecration)” is replete with a shared or collective ritual and (mostly) quiet narrative – until you get to “Congo” and to the chants of Amado Dedeu and the hypnotic pianism of Mr Zaldívar. This ultra-variegated, delicate and dense music gets the full treatment with nuanced vocalastics by Mireille Boilly as she swoops low; then flutters high with Mr Zaldívar accompanying as he coaxes the harmony from both piano and the keyboard with which he overlays a myriad of colours.

This chart, “Simple Talking” is, perhaps, the most memorable of the disc. It’s easy to imagine this ultra-exacting composer becoming lost in thought as this piece unfolds, whose lonely beauty is only revealed when it finds its true equilibrium. If you thought the playing there could not be topped, then wait until that song melts literally into a (literally unforgettable) version “Unforgettable”.

This music is a testament to the unmatched musicianship of Mr Zaldívar, the fingers of whose hands speak most powerfully in their quietude as from out of the depths comes a profoundly voice as it essays a proper treasure trove of music.

Track list – 1: A Rock con Leche; 2: Arará; 3: Manifested Creation; 4: Rezos; 5: Afro-Cuban Warriors; 6: When I Think of You; 7: Obatalá; 8: Eternel Creation; 9: Congo; 10: Simple Talking; 11: Unforgettable; 12: Te Recordaré; 13: Aché (Through the Consecration)

Personnel – Rafael Zaldívar: piano, vocals and prepared piano; Rémi-Jean LeBlanc: electric bass (5); David Gagné: contrabass (11); Mireille Boilly: voice (6, 10); Amado Dedeu Jr.: percussion (2, 7, 9, 12, 13) and voice (2, 12, 13); Amado Dedeu: voice (2, 12, 13); Michel Medrano: drums (1, 5, 7); Eugenio Osorio: congas and percussion (1, 5, 7, 11, 12)

Released – 2019
Label – Effendi Records (FND 153)
Runtime – 56:10

Raul Da Gama
Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more