The album “Y’Y” by Amaro Freitas has been selected as the global album of the month by Ammar Kalia.

Estimated read time 3 min read

Amaro Freitas, a pianist from Brazil, treats the 88 keys of his piano as if they were drums. In his three albums starting with Sangue Negro in 2016, Freitas has developed a unique style of powerful, intricate rhythms within jazz improvisation. He often plays different time signatures with each hand, incorporating a range of influences from traditional folk maracatu polyrhythms in Afrocatu (2018) to precise, robotic repetitions in Sankofa (2021).

The artwork for Y’YView image in fullscreen

The most recent release from the artist, Y’Y, employs his unique sense of rhythm to convey a spiritual message. With a focus on protecting the Amazon, the nine songs on Y’Y (which translates to “water” or “river” in the Sateré Mawé language) utilize whistles, prepared piano, and percussion to evoke the sounds of the rainforest and its mythical creatures. The opening track, Mapinguari (Encantado da Mata), features twinkling melodies accompanied by shakers and cymbals, mimicking the rustling of leaves. Dedicated to the spirit of the “water mother,” Uiara (Encantada da Água) – Vida e Cura creates a cascading rhythm using dampened piano strings to represent the rush of water.

The pleasant ambiance continues with the airy, bird-like whistles of Viva Naná and the captivating harp melodies of Brandee Younger showcasing Gloriosa. However, it is when Freitas unleashes his instinctual sense of experimental rhythm that the album truly shines. The latter half of the eight-minute journey Dança dos Martelos breaks into powerful bass dissonance and frenzied right-hand phrases, channeling the chaos of a storm. The final track, Encantados, is a standout with Hamid Drake on drums, Shabaka Hutchings on flute, and Aniel Someillan on bass. In just over 10 minutes, Freitas develops a fast-paced syncopated motif against Drake’s lively groove, culminating in a solo that serves as an urgent call to action.

Y’Y finds Freitas at his most wide-ranging, embodying soft natural ambience as well as dramatic action on the piano. It is an album of mood music that refuses to settle, leaving the listener moved and invigorated.


Additionally, released this month is

The latest album from Sahrawi singer Aziza Brahim, titled Mawja (Glitterbeat), blends dabke rhythms and tabal hand drums with flamenco guitar to create 10 dynamic tracks. Brahim’s powerful vocals reflect her Western Saharan heritage and her current life in Spain. Haitian American singer Nathalie Joachim’s second album, Ki Moun Ou Ye (Nonesuch), strikes a perfect balance between warm acoustic sounds and fragmented electronic production. Joachim’s soaring vocals in Haitian Creole falsetto add to the album’s richness. Sheherazaad’s debut record, Qasr (Erased Tapes), features production from Arooj Aftab and showcases the singer’s ethereal Urdu vocals, with standout moments on the reverb-heavy jazz influences in Koshish.


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