On a sunny Wednesday evening in Vaba Lava we welcomed the warm Afro-Cuban soul funk jazz of the Robert Fonseca Trio. We had a nice escape to a gathering on an ocean beach with stories told around a fire. It all started in a calm, easy tone with ethno remixed voices in the background. It didn’t take much time for the instruments to start having their own dialogues, the first duet was between the bass and drums – smooth talk between the boys. It all felt like being with a group of men hanging out on the streets of Havana, sharing happenings and opinions on this and that. The communication was full of respect towards each person. The trio got up to some pranks and had a joyful time together, while at the same time keeping us entertained. Their ‘discussion’ was full of sensuality and smoothness, no rough notes came our way.
The calm sensual colour was mainly provided by an up-beat piano that was the main core of the show, the main gang member. Most of the songs were accompanied in the background with texts in Spanish. The piano, with its leading energy, told us his stories with a certain calmness and satisfaction after a musical debate with the drums about who had the crazier stories to tell. The dominant sound and instrument changed all the time, like a pleasant, friendly competition. Of course we didn’t miss some meaningful dedications for two Buena Vista Social Club heroes: Orlando ‘Cachaíto’ López and Ibrahim Ferrer. The song made us take a deep breath and listen within old Cuban sounds that had mesmerising rhythms, diving in spirals of meditation, transiting into lively and imposing grooves.
And meanwhile, before the last songs, we had the opportunity to meet the trinity crew: the pretty boy on bass and contrabass, Yandy Martinez from Havana, and the dangerous smile of Ramses Rodrigues, also from Havana, on drums. The finale was a true unleashed piece of Cuban jazz. How do you feel? We were constantly being asked by Fonseca…and we tried, four times consecutively, to show him how – full of life and pleasure. The pianist himself couldn’t stay on his chair sometimes, constantly active, moving that warm energy around while dancing along.
The finale was of course a wonderful last piece of heart-warming sound, given while interacting with the public, joking through music and applause. We were grateful to them, they were grateful to us…a never-ending pleasure of cultural and social exchange. Thank you, we feel wonderful now!
Vaba Lava, 27th April
The Robert Fonseca Trio
Roberto Fonseca – piano, voice
Yandy Martinez – bass
Ramses Rodrigues – drums
Check out the pictures of the concert here