by CHIPBOAZ on MARCH 21, 2017

Coming from a performance background with Afro-Cuban dance music, the world of folkloric music has always seemed distant and intriguing. It’s been something that I loved hearing, but never quite understood on more than an academic level. I could appreciate it and sometimes even play pieces of it; that never quite seemed like enough. The reality is that there’s a difference between that surface connection and fully embracing something. That honest connection requires folkloric music to be a regular and enduring part of a musician’s life.

Today’s video puts Afro-Cuban Santería front and center in a jazz context, championed by two incredible Cuban musicians – pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and percussionist Pedrito Martinez. Both of these musicians have spent vast amounts of time hearing, playing, and processing music from the Santería religion. As a result, there’s a “second nature” quality about the music that finds it’s way into their performance. Placing it in a jazz context doesn’t feel forced, but rather a natural extension of the music that has surrounded them throughout their lives. This performance finds them arranging music for Oshun and taking plenty of time to improvise around the context. It’s an engaging performance with some cool video footage that shows these two worlds coming together around Rubalcaba and Martinez.