Hailing from Brazil, Amaro Freitas is one of the finest pianists of contemporary jazz. A virtuosic pianist, Freitas released recently Sankofa, a sublime album of intricate compositions, named after a word and symbol used in the Akan language of Ghana usually depicted as a bird with its head turned backwards. Freitas comments:
“The symbol of the mystical bird, which flies with its head back, teaches us the possibility of going back to our roots, in order to realize our potential to move forward. With this album I want to bring a memory of who we are and pay homage to neighborhoods, names, characters, places, words and symbols that come from our ancestors. I want to celebrate where we come from.”
Speaking about what sparked the album, he explains:
“I worked to try to understand my ancestors, my place, my history, as a black man. Brazil didn’t tell us the truth about Brazil. The history of black people before slavery is rich with ancient philosophies. By understanding the history and the strength of our people, one can start to understand where our desires, dreams and wishes come from.”
‘Baquaqua’ is one of the magnificent tracks from Sankofa. It refers to the story of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua, the West African man who was kidnapped and transported to Brazil as a slave in 1844 but escaped to New York in 1847, later learning to read and write. Listen to it below.
Sankofa is out now through Far Out Recordings