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Roberto Fonseca - NOSPR

Roberto Fonseca

Performers
Roberto Fonseca – vocal, piano
Felipe Cabrera – double bass
Andrés Coayo – percussion
Ariel Vigo – baritone sax and flute
Jimmy Jenks – tenor sax
Yuri Hernandez – trumpet
Ruly Herrera – drums

Roberto Fonseca is a Cuban pianist, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and bandleader. Havana-born, he has released many solo albums, collaborated across genres, been nominated for a Grammy Award and toured the world several times over. 

An artist of prowess and ideas, with a questing jazz sensibility and deep roots in the Afro-Cuban tradition, Fonseca continues to astound. ‘The most exciting pianist in Cuba,” avowed Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “Does something new with the old, without ever denying its origins, and opens himself to the world,” insisted France’s Le Figaro. “Makes all possibilities seem possible, and the moment feel perfect, intensely true,” declared the New York Times. 

Fonseca grew up in San Miguel del Padrón in the unassuming Barrio Obrero on the southeastern outskirts of Havana. His father, Roberto Fonseca Senior, played the drums. His mother, Mercedes Cortes Alfaro, was a dancer at the legendary Tropicana Club and is renowned within Cuba as a singer of boleros. He has been composing his own music since adolescence. 

His technique is as percussive and muscular as it is agile and delicate. His tastes were always eclectic: hard rock, for its energy and basslines. American jazz, taught at school, consumed in between, with Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and Oscar Peterson on rotation. Funk and soul. Music made in Africa and Brazil. Reggaeton, electronica, hip-hop. Classical music: “Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Grieg, Bartok,” says Fonseca. 

And always, the music of Cuba – that vibrant, tenacious, creatively fecund Caribbean island. Fonseca’s deep AfroCuban roots underpin a sound that builds bridges between ancient and modern and takes Cuban music – all music – forward, embracing challenges, breaking chains, showing what can be. Inspiring young musicians in Cuba, for whom Fonseca’s cross-genre adventures and international success are a benchmark. 

The international spotlight shone bright in 2001 when Fonseca joined that famed ensemble of elderly maestros, the Buena Vista Social Club, taking over the piano chair from the ailing Ruben Gonzalez (1919 – 2003) then touring the globe with singer Ibrahim Ferrer (1927 – 2005) then with BVSC alumni including diva Omara Portuondo. 

He has also played and cooperated with Raul Midon, Mayra Andrade and Fatoumata Diawara.

Tastemakers eyed him, recognising the potential in his playing smarts and bright ideas, his intrinsic Cubanness and ineffable sense of cool. 
The concert at the NOSPR is a must-see event for all world music lovers. An unforgettable journey through the Latin world, in the pulse of Buena Vista with various influences from other genres.
 

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