The Birthday Playlist
The Birthday Playlist: #1 Obatala!
This song is dedicated to the Berkeley High Jazz Program
When I listen to "Obatala" I often conjure up a big "O" of wonderment. I hear JOY!
That is why "AYO" is written beneath the heart --- it means joy in Yoruba and Obatala is the name of a Yoruba deity who is also embraced as a god in the Santeria religion. He is an old god who made earth and humans and is associated with creativity and also the color white. The song "Obatala" is a Latin jazz tune (in the mambo style, I think), written by Hideaki Nakaji. This version of the song is played by the 2014/2015 Berkeley High Jazz Band and it became their signature song for the year. This cut is from the band's performance at the 2015 Reno Jazz Festival, where Berkeley High placed First in their division. The Band also played an exuberant rendition of "Obatala" at their final concert, from where I treasure a lasting image of one particular baritone sax player decked out in a rich green robe, crowned by a Slavic-style tiara headdress.
I hear Joy!
Click on the music player above to hear The 2015 Berkeley High Jazz Band play "Obatala!"