Across the Divide: A Tale of Rhythm and Ancestry

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
With every recording Omar Sosa releases, his horizons continue to broaden within the context of world ethnic fusion, but with Across the Divide, he's bettered himself yet again. This collection of jazz-influenced, Latin-tinged music crosses the disparate genres of country folk and tribal sounds, recognizing the migration of the banjo from Africa to the Eastern seaboard of America, and percussion from the griot village to the rural Mid-Atlantic. In collaboration with vocalist and story teller Tim Eriksen, Sosa merges rhythm and ancestry via inspiration from Langston Hughes, John Coltrane, King Sunny Ade, Pete Seger, and contemporary bluesman Otis Taylor as popular ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
With every recording Omar Sosa releases, his horizons continue to broaden within the context of world ethnic fusion, but with Across the Divide, he's bettered himself yet again. This collection of jazz-influenced, Latin-tinged music crosses the disparate genres of country folk and tribal sounds, recognizing the migration of the banjo from Africa to the Eastern seaboard of America, and percussion from the griot village to the rural Mid-Atlantic. In collaboration with vocalist and story teller Tim Eriksen, Sosa merges rhythm and ancestry via inspiration from Langston Hughes, John Coltrane, King Sunny Ade, Pete Seger, and contemporary bluesman Otis Taylor as popular reference points. More specifically ruminating from Native American and coastal port city themes, Sosa and friends create a new music based on old traditions, adapted and fueled by the spirit of exploration an a caravan-like journey bound only by imagination. The astonishing diversity of this music is established right off the bat during the Welsh hymn "Promised Land," as Sosa's modal two-chord rhythm buoys the Native American-type chanting and spoken words of Eriksen, African-American singing, and a recorded sample of oratory via Hughes. "Gabriel's Trumpet" introduces Eriksen's banjo in a country-blues motif from the great state of Maine, the hymnal, spiritual "Night of the Four Song" comes from the heart of North Carolina via the Chinese wood flute of Leandro Saint-Hill, and the funky but rural "Sugar Baby Blues" is a barn dance straight from ol' West Virginia. Heading much further east, Sosa's two-part "Across Africa" starts in an evocative mood via the pianist's delicate touch, but backward loops indicate the travel plans have changed, leading to the typical Afro-Cuban spirit fans are more accustomed to. The Nigerian highlife beat of "Glu-Glu" is most infectious in 6/8 time, with Saint-Hill's riveting soprano sax providing the energy alongside electric guitarist David Gilmore's slide contribution, while conversely, "Ancestors" provides a brooding discourse from wise elders, an ominous, foreboding cautionary tale through backwards loops, Sosa's piano, the mbira of Childo Thomas, and loosely improvised African vocals. Bassist Tomas and the exceptional electro-acoustic drummer Marque Gilmore firm up the bottom end of these pieces with a ton of dignity, class, and enthusiasm, not to mention a spectrum of rhythms from all over the world. It is nothing less than remarkable how Omar Sosa continues to tap into the broad range of expressionism not limited to his homeland or backyard, unlike just about every folkloric musician who only sticks and stays within a familiar comfort zone. His curiosity broadens all of our horizons, never more so than on this startlingly beautiful project that is highly recommended to one and all.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/24/2009
  • Label: Halfnote Records
  • UPC: 616892453826
  • Catalog Number: 4538
  • Sales rank: 137,197

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Omar Sosa Primary Artist, Piano, Vocals, Sampling, fender rhodes, electronics
Marque Gilmore Drums, Vocals
David Gilmore Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Tim Eriksen Banjo, Violin, Vocals
Andy O'Connell Hospitality
Leandro Saint-Hill Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Caxixi, Chinese Flute
Román Díaz Conga, Vocals, Cajon, Bata Drums
Childo Tomas Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Kalimba, Electro-Acoustic Bass
Ramon Diaz Conga, Vocals, Bata
Childo Tomas Bass Guitar, Vocals, Kalimba
Leandro Saint Hill Clarinet, Flute, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Technical Credits
Greg Calbi Mastering
Steven Remote Engineer
Jeff Levenson Producer, Liner Notes, Audio Production
Omar Sosa Arranger, Composer, Adaptation
Tim Eriksen Arranger, Lyric Adaptations
Steven Bensusan Executive Producer
Traditional Composer
Jon D'Uva Engineer
Molly Gobel Art Direction
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