Cuban-born pianist and composer Roberto Fonseca’s new album Yo will be released August 27 on Concord Jazz. In celebration Fonseca will tour the United States with Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, as well as performing his own headlining shows along the way. Over the course of his 15-year career, Fonseca has garnered extensive critical acclaim by blending diverse genres of music from around the world, including Latin and American jazz, Afro-pop, hip-hop and soul.
Yo, which translates to “I” or “me” in Spanish, was recorded in a single week in Paris. The album combines traditional acoustic instruments with elements of contemporary electronic — a musical alchemy that pays homage to Cuba’s African roots while at the same time updating the country’s rich musical lineage. “This album unveils the beginning of a new phase more than the closure of an old one,” says Fonseca. “On Yo, I want to delve deep into my roots in light of my experiences and show the diversity of my musical universe, all these ideas which I had put aside, unable to use until now.”
Yo was released in Europe in 2012 to critical acclaim: The Sunday Times listed it among their top 10 albums of the year, and the album also made the 2012 Critics Choice list in Le Monde. Additionally, France’s Vibrations chose Yo as Album of the Year, and the record won two 2013 Cubadisco Awards (the Cuban Grammy equivalent), one for Best Fusion Album and the other for Best Recording.
Fonseca is joined on the album by percussionist Baba Sissoko, bassist Étienne M’Bappé, guitarist Munir Hossn, and Sekou Kouyate on kora as well as percussionist Joel Hierrezuelo, drummer Ramsés Rodríguez, and double bassist Felipe Cabrera. In addition, Yo includes vocal collaborations from Faudel, Fatoumata Diawara, Assane Mboup and spoken-word artist Mike Ladd.
Fonseca was born into a musical family in Havana, Cuba, in 1975 and began his musical career in the early 1990s. In 2001, he joined the Orquestra de Ibrahim Ferrer for a world tour. Led by Ferrer—a Buena Vista Social Club alum—the tour marked the beginning of ongoing and fruitful relationships with various members of BVSC. In 2007, Fonseca released Zamazu, an album that assembled more than 20 musicians and integrated elements of his various influences including Afro-Cuban, jazz, classical and traditional Cuban music. Zamazu was followed by 2009’s Akokan.
CONFIRMED TOUR DATES
- September 14: Centennial Hall, Tucson, AZ*
- September 15: Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, AZ*
- September 17: Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, CA*
- September 18: The Valley Performing Arts Center, Northridge, CA*
- September 20: Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, CA
- September 21: Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Davis, CA*
- September 22: Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA*
- September 23: Highline Ballroom, New York, NY
- September 24: Cliff Bell’s, Detroit, MI
- September 27: Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, Bloomington, IN
- September 28: Krannert Center, Urbana, IL*
- September 29: Symphony Center, Chicago, IL*
- September 30: Joy Theater, New Orleans, LA
- October 3: Manship Theatre, Baton Rouge, LA
*with Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club