Fatoumata Diawara, Roberto Fonseca feat. Omara Portuondo and Mayra Andrade in Basel

Baloise Session 2014

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Fatoumata Diawara — Singer

Roberto Fonseca — Pianist

Omara Portuondo — Singer

Mayra Andrade — Singer

Program notes

Brought to our ears in Switzerland in 2014, this concert is a kaleidoscopic ode to African-Caribbean culture. Four main musicians, three of which are formidable singers, with varying nationalities and career paths team up for a passionate concert: Fatama Diawara, born in West Africa, who later started her career in Paris; Mayra Andrade, comfortable singing in many languages such as Spanish, Creole and Portuguese, first lived in Cuba before moving to Cape Verde, then finally to Paris; Omara Portuondo, vocalist with Cuban heritage who also happens to be the voice of the Buena Vista Social Club; finally, Roberto Fonseca, a Cuban pianist who has helped revolutionize modern-day jazz. This ‘one of a kind’ formation is the fruit of a fragrant mélange of culture and music. 

The beauty of this collaboration can be found mainly in the unwavering capabilities of Fonseca to adapt to the varying styles of his counterparts, having worked previously with each of them. Fonseca has been the pianist of Buena Vista Social Club for many years and shares many of the same artistic intentions as Diawara. The two musicians are particularly inspired by the theme of cultural heritage and it is one of the aspects that describe the brilliance of their musical partnership. A year on from this concert, they produced together an album called At Home that explores their own native roots. With their natural understanding of each other on full display, we can see that their music draws its inspiration without doubt from the cultural diversity of the group to, in turn, give the music its own identity.

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