Amaro Freitas announces new album, Y’Y, and shares lead single ‘Encantados’

Photo: Helder Tavares

Virtuosic Brazilian pianist and composer Amaro Freitas conquered our ears a couple of years ago with Sankofa, a sublime album of intricate compositions. We’re over the moon to know he is following it up with a much anticipated new album entitled Y’Y, which is pronounced eey-eh, eey-eh and is a word from the Sateré Mawé dialect, an ancestral indigenous code that means water or river. To bring Y’Y to life, Freitas enlisted a stellar cast of collaborators including Shabaka Hutchings, Brandee Younger, Jeff Parker, Hamid Drake, and Aniel Someillan.

An “homage to the forest, especially the Amazon Forest, and the rivers of Northern Brazil,” as Freitas puts it, Y’Y is “a call to live, feel, respect, and care for nature, recognizing it as our ancestor.” He adds that the album, “is also a warning about the need to be aware of the impact we cause, based on the concepts of civilization and modernity that keep us away from this connection, and its importance for the balance of life on the planet.”

Ahead of the album release on March 1st through Psychic Hotline, Freitas has shared the magnificent, wild and elevating lead single, ‘Encantados’, a song he hopes will make listeners “feel touched by the spirits, the enchanted spirits of the forest.” ‘Encantados’ features Hutchings on flute, Drake on drums, and Someillan on acoustic bass and you can listen to it below.

Amaro Freitas’ third album, Sankofa, out now

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