Ashé Records is excited to announce the release of Searching For A Memory (Busco Tu Recuerdo), a remarkable Latin jazz album by the legendary GRAMMY-nominated percussionist Sammy Figueroa, featuring GRAMMY-winning Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and the dynamic Latin GRAMMY-winning Cuban vocalist Aymée Nuviola. Produced by multiple GRAMMY-nominated producer, Rachel Faro, Figueroa’s first album in nearly a decade is dedicated to the memory and music of his father, the late romantic singer Charlie Figueroa.
“My father Charlie Figueroa was a singer of romantic boleros back in the 1950's, one of the best, whose records still sell to this day. But he passed away as a young man, when I was just a little boy, a victim of his 'bohemian lifestyle'. But those who knew him, from Eddie Palmieri and Yomo Toro to Charlie’s sister, my Aunt Blanca, all say that I look like him, that I have the same sense of humor and that I inherited his musical talent,” reflected Figueroa.
Charlie’s greatest hit single was “Busco Tu Recuerdo”, in which he sings of searching for the memory of his loved one only to discover that there is no memory, only a dream. This parallels Sammy’s experience – he never really knew his dad – when he searches for a memory of his father all he finds is a dream.
Joining Sammy on Searching For A Memory are two musical greats: pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and vocalist Aymée Nuviola. Their unique bond and emotional outpouring that came to the fore during the recording of the album is deeply embedded in the music. Here, the classic melodies of Charlie’s most famous boleros have been transformed into modern Latin jazz arrangements with elements of son montuno, cha-cha, plena/bomba, mariachi, samba, rumba, and just great clave-based Latin jazz.
Half of the collection is instrumental while the remaining half is punctuated by the high-flying and emotionally charged vocals of Nuviola and Sammy himself, who rediscovered his own voice during the making of this album. He shines on the title track, which was one of his father’s most prominent hits.
Guest artists and contributing arrangers on Searching For A Memory include MacArthur Genius Puerto Rican saxophonist Miguel Zenon, trumpet player and multiple GRAMMY winning arranger John Daversa, the brilliant Cuban saxophonistFelipe LaMoglia, Cuban flutist Magalys Herrera, Puerto Rican bassist Ricardo Rodriguez and Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Munir Hossn.
On Searching For A Memory, Sammy Figueroa turns buried emotions into gorgeous musical expression. With the support of his musical family, the process gave Sammy the strength and joy to forgive his father and heal from his chaotic childhood. For this reason, he dedicates this album not just to Charlie Figueroa, but to all children who grow up without fathers.
"Searching for a Memory es un álbum necesario y obligado que deleita de principio a fin. Documento musical que reafirma la excelencia de Sammy Figueroa y de cada uno de los cómplices de tan bello trabajo."
- Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular
Memory of Water
The HangPan is a revolutionary hybrid instrument and a stellar addition to the world of melodic percussion. Basically a sophisticated steel drum to be played by hand and fingers, this extraordinary instrument offers a stunning blend of sounds and melodic possibilities.
Its inventors, Felix Rohrer and Sabrina Sharer of PANArt AG, based in Bern, Switzerland, developed a special hardened metal alloy, which not only ensures stability and cliarity of tone, but also produces clouds of overtones and harmonics. Two half-spheres of this alloy are tuned and fitted together, resulting in the pan, which looks just like a small flying saucer. This recording was created in one afternoon. Completely improvised, these eleven tracks were produced on the following five Hang scales: Aeolian, Hizaz, Ake Bono, Sabah and Pentatonic. As Sammy played, the music seemed to arise on its own, flowing from Sammy's hands into the air like a river of music flowing into an endless sea of sound.
Celestial sounds and rhythms to purify and inspire.
When we think of percussionist Sammy Figueroa, most of us think of spectacular conga solos and exciting Latin jazz. But there's another side to Sammy, the contemplative side, the Sammy that meditates, does yoga and has a consuming interest in science, metaphysics and alternative medicine.
That's the side of Sammy that, in 2001, sought out Sabine and Felix in Bern Switzerland so that he could try their revolutionary HangPan, a celestial instrument played by hand, made of a special aluminum alloy. That's the side of Sammy that has a consuming interest in the teachings of Dr Masaru Emoto, who taught that water was so mutable that it could retain memory and so had us praying for the waters of the world, especially the waters in the nuclear reactors at Fukushima.
Now Sammy has combined these two interests in a beautiful CD: Memory of Water, played entirely on the HangPan, expresses the fluidity and flow of the world's waters. The sound of Sammy's improvised rhythms and melodies on this special instrument create a cleansing and purifying effect in any space. The repetitive quality of the music coming through puts the listener in a relaxed, alpha-like state.