Born in 1975 into a musical family, Roberto Fonseca was a revelation at Havana’s “Jazz Plaza” International Festival when he was 15. After taking a degree in musical composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), he recorded his first album which was awarded “Best Jazz Album” at the Cubadisco Festival in 1999. With the start of the 21st century Roberto’s life changed when he became Ruben Gonzalez’ successor in the Orquesta de Ibrahim Ferrer. After more than 400 concerts with Ferrer he also arranged and co-produced the singer’s last album, “Mi Sueno” which was nominated for a Grammy in 2007. Regarded as “the most promising and important talent in Cuban music”, Roberto has also performed with such as Omara Portuondo, Bebo and Chucho Valdez, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker and Wayne Shorter.
With the release of “Zamazu” (2007) Roberto Fonseca reached the international stages and is now recognized as one of the most talented and charismatic musicians of the last few years. All who had the opportunity to be present at one of his concerts with Ibrahim Ferrer were impressed by Roberto’s unique way of playing the piano, one that combines precise rhythm with intense emotion. “Zamazu” confirmed this and kept the press praising a unique talent. The Guardian called Roberto “a fabulously gifted pianist, composer and bandleader”, “one of a new breed who can transcend musical boundaries through sheer quality.” The Independent On Sunday hailed Roberto’s “elegant line and unhurried feel for time and space. Fonseca is a star.”
Roberto recorded his new album “Akokan” (which is Yoruba for “heart”) at the Egrem Studio in Havana, Cuba. Accompanied by those musicians who have worked with him for more than 12 years, he has taken the strength and magic of a live performance and transformed it into a studio album. As Roberto’s new compositions are inspired by different countries and cultures, he invited two very special musicians that he has long admired: Mayra Andrade, the Cape Verdean singer who sang and wrote the lyrics to “Siete Potencias”, and Raul Midon, the American singer and guitarist who wrote “Everyone Deserves A Second Chance”; for this track Roberto did the arrangements and Raul sang and played guitar. Yet the piano is the true protagonist on this album. Roberto Fonseca has delved deep into his instrument letting us enjoy a different style of playing, one enriched by all his life experiences. “Akokan” presents Roberto’s deepest heart caught in some incredible solos and a pure atmosphere.
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