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Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums, the Award-Winning Documentary on the Life and Music of GRAMMY-Nominated Pianist and Composer Omar Sosa, Will be Released on VOD Streaming Platforms in the U.S. on March 15, 2024 with Blu-ray to Follow in April 2024

An Accompanying Soundtrack LP Comprised of Sosa Recordings Featured in the Film Will Follow in April 2024 on Oakland-Based Otá Records

Omar Sosa Will Celebrate Both on a Spring Tour as he Brings His Quarteto Americanos to Miami, Seattle, Oakland, Santa Cruz,

Los Angeles and New York

GRAMMY-nominated pianist and composer Omar Sosa’s body of work as a composer, bandleader, and recording artist is a rich tapestry of styles and cultures, from solo piano to big band, from Mother Africa to Cuba – and the descendant communities of the Diaspora – and from jazz, Afro-Cuban, and an array of folkloric traditions to Western classical music. What’s more, Sosa often performs and records with synthesizers, samplers, and electronic effects, making it challenging to categorize his music, but providing so much of its originality and allure.

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums, the documentary directed by Soren Sorensen, captures much of Sosa’s oeuvre and the accompanying soundtrack LP of the same name reflects the artist’s chameleon-like sensibilities. Featuring artists born across five continents in conversation and performance, the film is a frenetic and nonlinear narrative that follows Sosa’s sinuous trajectory from his birth and upbringing in Camagüey, Cuba’s third-largest city, his education at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Música in Havana, military service in Angola during that country’s long civil war, and eventual relocation to Ecuador where, for a time, he wrote, arranged, and performed commercial jingles. 

Sosa’s solo career began with a fortunate move to San Francisco in 1995 where he met manager Scott Price, who co-produced the film and its soundtrack. Sosa and Price forged a partnership that continues to this day. “For fans and newcomers alike,” Price said, “the film and soundtrack LP are a great way to enjoy Omar’s music and better appreciate the artist and his creative process.”

The soundtrack features music from eight Sosa albums, including three GRAMMY nominees —Sentir (2002), Across the Divide (2009), and Eggūn (2013) – and will be released by Price’s Oakland-based label, Otá Records.

For Sosa, whose prolific career began nearly 30 years ago, looking back at his own life has been a profound – if unusual – experience. “Whatever I did before, it’s already in the past,” Sosa said. “Personally, I’m always paying attention to what I’m working on in the moment and looking for what comes next. I’m always so focused on what I’m doing now, trying to create. Sometimes I don’t even listen to what I do. So it’s gratifying to hear how other people feel about my music.”

Of the film’s numerous interviews with Sosa collaborators, journalists, and admirers, one moved Sosa to tears: celebrated pianist, composer, and arranger Chucho Valdés, who Sosa called a “mentor” and “one of the godfathers” of modern Afro-Cuban music. Sosa counts Irakere, the legendary Cuban group Valdés formed in 1973, among his earliest and most important influences.

Sorensen first interviewed Sosa in 2011 while writing and editing for Tribe, a short-lived arts and culture publication based in Providence, Rhode Island. It was immediately clear to Sorensen that Sosa’s story was worthy of a treatment more rigorous and thoroughgoing than a single magazine piece could allow. “Listening to Omar’s music and then talking to him so many times over the years has completely changed me,” Sorensen said. “Genres I listen to, when I listen, how I listen – it’s all been rearranged. I wasn’t ready for it as a musician, but as a filmmaker it all resonates in a different way.”

When Sorensen first approached Sosa about a documentary, Sosa was promoting Alma, his first album with Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu. Sosa and Fresu released their third collaboration, Food, in 2023. “It’s hard to believe that our first shoot was over ten years ago,” Sorensen said. “But after that concert and those interviews, I knew we needed to go deeper and try to paint a more complete picture.”

Lacking the budget to follow Sosa around the world with a film crew, Sorensen and cinematographer Jason Rossi, both based in Rhode Island, simply waited for Sosa to come to the U.S. “I think we turned a weakness into a strength. I hope we did,” Sorensen laughed. “Omar comes to Boston or New York a few times a year. And every time he comes back around, he seems to have a new sound and an unexpected group of brilliant collaborators.”

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums had its world premiere at the 2022 USA Film Festival in Dallas, TX. The film has since appeared at over 30 film festivals across North America and Europe, winning awards at Albuquerque Film+Music Experience in Albuquerque, NM; Hamptons Doc Fest in Sag Harbor, NY; Imaginarium Independent Film Festival in Louisville, KY; Massachusetts Independent Film Festival in Worcester, MA; ReelHeART International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada; and Rhode Island International Film Festival in Providence, RI. Los Angeles-based independent film distributor Indie Rights recently acquired worldwide rights to the film.

Youthful and energetic at 58 years of age, Omar Sosa still has a lot of music to make and life to live. “I’m proud and happy to have a documentary about my life,” Sosa said and added with a smile, “A lot of the time, documentaries don’t happen until someone passes away, so this is really a gift.”

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: Music from the Motion Picture Track List

1. Sunrise 3:48 Calma (2011)

2. Toridanzón 4:26 Sentir (2002)

3. Portrait 4:03 Pictures of Soul (2004)

4. Promised Land 7:03 Across the Divide (2009)

5. Cha Cha du Nord 6:09 Es:sensual (2018)

6. So All Freddie 8:24 Eggun (2013)

7. Angustia With Tumbao 3:17 Omar Omar (1996)

8. Para Ella 5:18 Spirit of the Roots (1999)

Omar Sosa 2024 U.S. Tour Dates

March 2 – Global Cuba Fest, Miami, FL

March 26 & 27 – Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA

March 29 & 30 – Yoshi’s, Oakland, CA

April 1 – Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, CA

April 7 – Catalina’s, Los Angeles, CA

April 9-13 – Birdland, New York, NY

June 17 – Healdsburg Jazz Festival, Healdsburg, CA

For media inquiries, please contact:

DL Media ·  (303) 522-4724‬

Leah Concialdi ·

Don Lucoff ·

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