By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
By Steve Weinstein
By Araceli Cruz
Fusing traditional Gnawa ritual and Yoruba linguistics with chaotic ivory and free verse on his eighth album in the past half-decade, Chilean-born pianist and vocalist Omar Sosa constructs bridges between Morocco, Cuba, and Americamercurial arpeggios, scattered across silent landscapes.
On Sentir, Sosa's neo-beatnik scats match verse-for-note his acoustic piano ramblings, which walk among cumacos and maracas. A Moroccan violin floats stealthily above mallet-backdropped bata drums; congas hit high and low within Gnawa prayers; repetitive chants modernize a cross-continental version of qawwali conceptualism. Off-the-cuff astrology burrows through metaphor, painting orgasmic scenes of interplanetary visitation.
Void of egotism and profoundly revelatory, Sentir(its title derived from a verb meaning "to feel") powerfully explores spiritual assessment within a detached society. As western culture clings to mere fragments of eastern philosophyposh yoga lounges, jade Buddhas priced with platinum creditSosa reminds us a scream of joy and one of suffering are both necessary in understanding ourselves as sentient beings. His melodies, silences, and shaman rhythms are intangible portals: coursing through chronological bloodlines, dancing dark Sufic spins around fires.