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Cuba to the world: Roberto Fonseca

GRATEFUL: Roberto Fonseca thanks his family for their contribution towards his love of music

ROBERTO FONSECA has promised to take fans on a “journey throughout the Cuban music culture” when he takes to the stage next month to perform his new album ABUC on tour in the UK.

Fonseca, 41, is a pianist, composer and producer whose foray into the world of music started with an innocent interest in all types of genres. Much like most children he would tune into the local radio, and by his own admission he would be influenced by music from “folk to heavy metal”.

Heralded as being firmly at the forefront of the renaissance in Cuban music over the last two decades, Fonseca told The Voice that it was his humble beginnings that helped to forge the man we see today.

“It all began from my own home, from my family,” he enthused.

“Since I was very little, my parents and brothers have made me listen to all kinds of music. We used to listen to the radio a lot, especially FM and this made me feel interested for the different genres.

“So growing up with this musical information turned me into someone that likes combining
sounds.

“I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my parents registering me at the School of Music in Havana. This is where I picked up the classical element, and the reason I am the musician and pianist that I am today.”


PIANO MAN: Roberto Fonseca (photo credit: Alchetron)

Fonseca will be bringing his take on Latin jazz to Leeds, Coventry and London’s Barbican Centre between March 10 and 13. But, the 2014 Grammy-nominated artist is no newbie on the performance circuit, having toured with the legendary Buena Vista Social Club before launching his own very successful career. Describing this time of his life, Fonseca said:

“It was like touching the sky with my hand, being with Ibrahim Ferrer, Cachaito Lopez, Guajiro Mirabal, Manuel Galban and all others was absolutely magic. I learned many things from them.”

ABUC is Fonseca’s eighth album under his own name. Teeming with rascally rhythms and burly brass, ABUC is a kaleidoscope of dancing colours, within which Fonseca tells a story of Cuban music from the past to the present.

ABUC is an album with plenty of feelings, emotions and history,” he said.

“It is my way of presenting a different Cuba, combining tradition and modernity. ABUC is the result of two intense years of work and a very important album for me.

“A team has put all of their love and energy in it, so the best prize is the recognition of the people and the audiences positive feedback.”


MAMBO MAESTRO: Roberto Fonseca (photo credit: Jazz Plus)

Addressing his status as the most inventive and creative Latin jazz artist of his generation Fonseca said:

“It makes me feel really good.

“I love to create, to take risks and to break the mould – that’s what I most like about music.

“Music is a universal language, and it gives you the opportunity to talk to the whole world about your feelings.

“There is a large audience out there that I’d like to chat with.

“It is a shame that one life is not enough to explore all of this world’s different sounds – that’s why I am always trying to create different melodies.”

Fonseca can’t wait to see the reaction to his latest body of work on his tour of the UK. He cites one music collector in Gilles Peterson as an artist he has “worked with and learned many things from”, and he would love to connect with the British public in a similar way when he gets here.

“I can’t wait to see how the UK audience react to this new concert. I am convinced that they are going to enjoy the journey throughout the Cuban music culture,” he said.

“For me music is the reflection of one’s owns thoughts and feelings. The piano is an extension of my own body. Sounds are the colours with which I can paint my own life."

Watch Roberto Fonseca's Afro Mambo below:

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