Om’Mas Keith – Mistérios (Video) (2011)

Sa-Ra is an outfit adorned in eccentricities. The union of artists Om’Mas Keith, Taz Arnold, and Shafiq Husayn has led to the release of two full-length projects as well as a wealth of features and production credits. Their sound is best understood a

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s an amalgamation of the indefinable and unbridled. In other words, I have no possible way, with my limited mastery of the English language, to accurately capture everything they do sonically. That I would argue is their greatest gift.

These musical idiosyncrasies do, however, extend beyond the group setting. With each member carrying a certain je ne sais quoi, their solo efforts have also been a mélange of musical complexities. The eponymous Shafiq En’ A-Free-Ka is oft-cited as the pinnacle of their solo endeavors, but I’ve had the work of Om’Mas running through my musical consciousness as of late.

A recent diet of bossa nova/samba (due, largely in part, to our resident curator, DJ Haylow) has led to explorations rooted in the past and presence, finding strength in modern interpretations of a timeless tradition. Running from Jorge Ben’s “Vem Morena Vem” to Esperanza Spalding’s “Samba em Prelúdio,” I’ve stuck somewhere around a record entitled, “Mistérios.”

      1. Esperanza Spalding - Samba em Preludio

      2. Jorge Ben - Vem Morena

A remnant of the Brazilian Tropicália movement of the late 1960s, “Mistérios” is often performed in an acoustic setting, the timbre of a lone guitar developing the lush backdrop. However, for the Red Hot + Rio 2 project, Keith reintroduces the strong African rhythms relevant to that period, constructing a dynamic convergence of two drastically different musical methodologies coming out of that era, birthing something surprisingly original. That’s a lot to take in, but, like the culture itself, the complexities of Keith seem to have no boundaries.

Without understanding the language, we are given a sonic translation in the form of a carefree melody and dense instrumentation. Belying the idea that traditional sounds have no place in the present, Om’Mas Keith presents bossa nova in modernity.

Studio Version

      3. Om'Mas Keith - Misterios

“Um fogo queimou dentro de mim
Que não tem mais jeito de se apagar”


Written By: Paul Pennington

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Check out Om’Mas Keith video “Mistérios” (& alternate versions), as well as an excellent write up by @PaulPennington.


#stillplaying “Mistérios” – @OMMASDOTCOM | Live & Studio versions


posted by @paulpennington on 08.27.12 at 7:02 pm

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