Roberto Fonseca is considered the brightest contemporary Cuban pianist on the jazz and global music scene. The 46-year-old pianist and singer is a bright representative of Cuban music, who is not afraid to mix jazz, funk, bossa nova, salsa, mambo, rumba, flamenco, modern reggaeton, hip-hop and spoken word stylistics.
His ability to conduct ensembles of various sizes, both playing acoustic piano and other keyboard instruments, has also been proven. Fonseca is also able to demonstrate his percussive touch and endless improvisational dexterity, as well as make concise melodies.
Born in the Cuban capital, the musician has toured the world several times since the early 1990s, including with the legendary Cuban music band Buena Vista Social Club, where he was both a pianist and one of the project's artistic directors. Fonseca has released eleven albums and has also been nominated for the prestigious Grammy Award. His obvious musical talents and deep understanding of Cuban sound culture have been put in his cradle by his parents, as Roberto's father was a drummer and his mother a locally recognized singer and dancer.
Fonseca's first instrument at the age of four was drum kit. However, since the age of eight, the piano has been considered Fonseca's primary instrument, although he is also called a multi-instrumentalist.
At the age of 15, Fonseca performed for the first time as a soloist at the Jazz Plaza Festival in Havana. He recorded his first album, En el Comienzo, with the band Grupo Temperamento, and it was named Cuba's best jazz album in 1999! This unexpected success encouraged Fonseca to instantly release his solo debut album Tiene Que Ver, and since then he has continued to climb the ladder of fame on the Cuban music scene.
"My culture is strong and varied," says Fonseca. "There is so much life here, so much music. We are rich… I am very happy and honored to participate in the Rīgas Ritmi Festival in Latvia. I am very much looking forward to sharing my latest album Yesun with the Latvian audience and inviting them on a musical journey to my beloved Cuba."
"Although Fonseca's name has long been on the list of the most coveted artists of the festival, Roberto was first heard in person at the Tokyo Jazz Festival in 2018 in the project Buena Vista Social Club," says artistic director of the Rīgas Ritmi festival Māris Briežkalns. "Then I addressed Roberto about a possible concert in Riga. Cuban music is very close to me because of its freedom and, of course, its extremely fine pulse, which moves you, whether you like it or not, and how positive magic frees you from stagnation and everyday frustration. ”
"Is it necessary for jazz to be “challenging” or “complex” in order to be considered “good”?" asks the American jazz magazine JazzTimes. "Pianist Roberto Fonseca blazes few new trails here, despite his blending of styles and influences that some might consider disparate, if not oppositional."
"Fonseca is a key figure of the global renaissance of Cuban music," says the British jazz magazine Jazziz Magazine.
"The pianist cements his place in the Afro-Cuban hall of fame," says the British global music magazine Songlines.
Fonseca is recognized by the jazz and world or global music community, therefore there is no doubt that his music and performance in the autumn humidity will also warm the hearts of Latvian music lovers. In Riga, he will play in his trio with two other great Cuban musicians - bassist Yandy Martinez and drummer Ruly Herrera.
The concert starts on October 19 at VEF Culture Palace at 7 PM, tickets can be purchased at aula.lv.