Cuban music is currently enjoying a thriving renaissance; musicians from all over the island are performing in the world’s most prestigious venues, and pianists are undoubtedly the stars of this varied Cuban musical offer. Theirs is a golden generation, with renowned virtuosos displaying incredible technical prowess, and who’ve captured and charmed us. However, in the last decade, until now no one has emerged that is capable of brings together virtuosity and technique, and plays a music imbued with passion; with a unique, wordless voice that evokes feelings and makes us travel through different landscapes, a constant journey entering and exiting the island, without the need for a specific destination.
Born into a musical family in Havana in 1975, Roberto Fonseca remains faithful to the wish he has had from the beginning of his career: "I want my music to reach people who don’t know me, and I dream of one day becoming a reference for my audience…”
He started studying piano at the age of 8, though his initial passion was percussion. This interest at such an early age would clearly influence on his trademark “percussive” piano-playing style. At the age of 14, he created his first compositions, drawing inspiration from the Afro-Cuban genre, “At school we used to regard American Jazz as a reference; I felt that my music would be a fusion of both genres … I liked lots of jazz musicians, such as Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett, but also old American Funk and Soul classics.”
At only 15, his appearance as a pianist was a revelation at Havana’s Jazz Plaza International Festival; he finished his academic training as a pianist and teacher. After this, his desire to improve and learn further led him to study the Musical Composition Degree at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA).
At the age of 21, guided by the need to fuse his music with other styles, he started a tour across Italy with singer Augusto Enriquez, and his path would cross, one year later, with saxophonist Javier Zalba (Irakere, Cubanismo), with whom he formed the group “Temperamento”. This was the beginning of a 9-year journey which would culminate in his latest release “Zumazu.”
In a year of intense creativity,in 1999 he recorded and produced his first album “En el Comienzo”, which won the award for best Jazz album in the Cubadisco Festival; he co-produced, arranged and played for Augusto Enriquez’s album, “Cuando Yo Sea Grande”, and recorded his first solo album “Tiene Que Ver” which he released in 1999, and received an award for the popular Cuban music category in the Trimalca competition, organised by UNESCO .