Motumbo

 
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The incantation Motumbo...

represents an entreaty for aid and guidance from those that dwell in the spirit world. The supplication itself is a method of communication that grants access to a spiritual realm. Some may call it ancestor worship others may call it prayer and many may consider it religion. Inspired by belief, faith, healing, and worship, for most non-western music-cultures it is through the arts (sounds, visual display, and kinesthetic movement) that invokes a spiritual connection with the ethereal domain. The integration of music, song, dance and art forges an expression that is more than just prayer; instead, it is an active participation in and practice of the spiritual experience.

Mythical archetypes like African deities and Native American spirits, demonstrate their unique powers through elemental forces, which are sacred phenomena. The spirits of the crossroads, mountains, seas and rivers, thunder and lightning, fire and rain, rainbows and wind represent a profound and sophisticated worldview full of spiritual and philosophical values. These deities and spirits represents certain qualities or conditions of human life as well. Cosmic beings that reflect principles that exist in human society and symbolize the forces of nature.

Afro-Cuban and Native American manifestation of spirituality serves as the basis for this recording. What is common between the two belief systems is an internal logic that links the deity and spirit world with particular elements of nature through sound. In turn, this internal logic is closely linked to the cosmos and the origins and evolution of the universe. Motumbo, the overarching principal of spiritual harmony between the material and the spiritual worlds establishes nature’s sequential order that is at the heart of both spiritual philosophies. The divine messenger, the guardian of crossroads whose sonic attributes include a flute and the sound of small toy-like objects. The blacksmith, the spirit, sound, and keeper of iron. The spirit of health, illness, and the impoverished. The river goddess, spirit of sensuality and love. Mother ocean, the planet’s protector and the earth’s origin. The spirit associated with thunder and lightning, keeper of the drum and music. Finally, the spirit of the wind and keeper of the spirit realm. Motumbo extracts the melodies of the Afro-Cuban songs and prayers and places them in a new musical context of Native American and Chinese flutes and acoustic instrumental sound sources produced in the United States. The spirits’ liturgical order is maintained, henceforth, giving a natural order to the music. The material elements associated with the deities serve as the guiding principle for the instruments used on this recording.

Bringing the melodies alive in Motumbo is the Greek-Italian Native American flute virtuoso Gary Stroutsos, whose musical journey traverses the sonic landscape of our time. His profound interest and work in the world flute realm has led to the level of artistry you experience on this CD. The musical discovery is that afro-Cuban and Native American expressions can indeed enrich and complement each other. Sacred African melodies are expressed through the spiritual Native American flute, accompanied by the sounds that best represent the material elements of each Yoruba deity. This creative approach breathes life into the musical environment through its profound sense of diversity, adaptability, and integration. The musical beauty of this CD is based on the melodies themselves. When interpreted from a different cultural perspective, one can appreciate them for their purely aesthetic qualities. The flutes used on this CD also transcend their traditional capabilities by sounding melodies that they were not designed to produce. In doing so, the flutes become the perfect vehicle for musical improvisation. This CD also features Afro-Cuban Master percussionist and singer Lazaro Galarraga. Regarded as one of the great “Akpons” or lead singer and Bata Drum Master in Afro- Cuban religious traditions. Mostly recognized in contemporary music circles as Israel Lopez’ “Cachao” lead singer, master Galarraga interprets a broad range of Cuban folkloric and popular styles and on Montumbo demonstrates his musical versatility while maintaining the spiritual essence of his vocal interpretation. Rounding out the recording is master flutist/producer Danilo Lozano. Recognized for his work in Cuban charanga, Latin Jazz, and Classical contemporary flute works of both Latin and African-American composers, also demonstrates his musical diversity by performing on Native-American, Mexican, Tibetan, and Asian flutes.

This CD is also blessed with the presence of percussionists that are recognized for their musical and technical prowess in traditional and contemporary music contexts. On this CD, these musicians have the opportunity to demonstrate their high level of artistry as they shape and weave the musical texture with virtuosity and nuance. They achieve this by using instruments that often sweeten the sonic core of the musical interpretations. The performances are devoid of drums that produce sound with animal skins and explores the infinite sonorous possibilities of wooden boxes, rattles, lightning and water drums, wind chimes, clay pottery, toy jewelry, etc. Western musical instruments are also used in ways that are musically consistent with East Indian and new music (contemporary classical) conventions.

- Danilo Lozano, Producer

Credits:
Producers: Danilo Lozano, Gary Stroutsos, and Cesar Mejia Tracking and Mix Engineer: Cesar Mejia
Recorded at: Chowdry Recording Studio, Whittier College Mix at: The Shelter Studios, Boyle Heights CA
Mastering: TSS Mastering
Mastering Engineer: Louie Gonzalez

Musicians:
Native American Flute and Chinese Xaio: Gary Stroutsos
World flutes: Danilo Lozano
Vocalist: Lazaro Galarraga
Vocalist: Tracks #4 and #5 Eliane Hernandez
Percussionists: Michito Sanchez, Kevin Ricard, and Bobby Wilmore Sitar on Track #1 John Oliver Knight
Double Bass: Rene Camacho
Piano: Joe Rotondi Jr.