Artist Profiles: Leyanis Lopez

Leyanis López

Leyanis López Luque was born in Guantanamo on the 8th of October 1971. She started out at the age of seven as a member of the Guantanamo province Fabio Rosell del Rio Primary School choir, directed by art instructor Miguel Angel Duran. Her natural gift for singing soon singled her out and she became a solo singer for different musical groups within the Pioneers organization. During all this period, she performed in various cultural events.

From 1980 onwards, she constantly participated in the Jose Marti tribute youth festivals, Pioneers Trova festivals and summer festivals organized nationally, allowing her to perfect her artistic qualities. In 1984, she was a cultural representative at the forum of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), a non-governmental organization, held in Havana.

In 1985, accompanied by the excellent Ismaelillo group, she won first prize in the Summer Festival, with the support from her teacher Maria Balan and lessons from Angel Savin, an arts instructor.

In 1986, she took her first trip abroad, representing Cuba at the International Festival of Amateur Artists organized in Hungary in July, then touring the German Federal Republic and Czechoslovakia.

In 1988, she was ranked in the highest category of amateur artists. Her career as a professional singer began in 1989 when she performed at different guitar trio festivals, at the Boleros de Oro Festival and the Rafael Inciarte Brioso Festival of Popular Music. She gave concerts as a singer with orchestras or trios in theaters, community arts centers and open-air events in parks, going on tours throughout the country and appearing on the radio and television in Guantanamo and other provinces. She also recorded at the EGREM studios in Santiago de Cuba for the CMQ International channel and Japanese television.

In 1994, she was ranked in the higher category of professional singers. She then studied singing at the Guantanamo Further Training Centre for Professional Artists. In 1995, she was awarded her singing-category intermediate-level diploma with distinction.

She recorded her first CD in 1998 for the French label Lusafrica. Her repertoire, which includes different types of popular music, romantic ballads, bolero, cancion, waltz, guajira and Cuban son, allows the listener to appreciate the effect of more complex music on popular music since the beginning of the century in Eastern Cuba, as well as the influence of 1950s music. It also adopts a present-day innovations in terms of harmonies and tones.

Discography

* Como la Mariposa (Lusafrica, 1999)
* Mi corazón y yo (Lusafrica, 2002)
* Corazón Presumido (Lusafrica, 2005)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

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