You are honoring Celia Cruz , the queen of Salsa, in your next album- How did the idea came about?
I was asked to do a special show at Celebrate Brooklyn and put together a tribute to Celia Cruz with Pedrito Martinez and my band and some additional musicians. It was really great and we did it several more times. At the Celebrate Brooklyn show, Philip Glass suggested I do an album of Celia songs. It took several years, but I finally decided to record it last year.
Did you know Celia Cruz? Tell us about her African roots as well?
I met her in the 90’s in Paris at one
of her shows. She invited me to sing Quimbara on stage with her! Celia
sang songs in the 50’s that were inspired by Yoruba traditional songs (Santeria
Is it true that the song Quimbara, your first cover on this album, is the first song you learned growing up in Benin?
It was the first Celia Cruz song I
learned, not my first song ever growing up!
I’ve known Tony for years. We met in Paris when he was starting his solo career. Tony just also played on Remain in Light. I have also known Meshell for a long time and it has always been a dream to work with her.