Acclaimed Cuban vocalist Daymé Arocena is set to perform on Thursday, August 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. A singer, composer, and choir director, Arocena’s inspiration comes from jazz, soul, classical music, and Cuban musical traditions. This is a free admission concert available on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you haven’t heard yet about Daymé Arocena, her new album Cubafonía is a great opportunity to listen to one of the best voices that has come out of Cuban in recent years.
Winner of the significant Marti y el Arte award in 2007, Daymé Arocena demonstrates her formidable talent by crossing musical boundaries with her voice. She shows her mastery at Cuban traditional genres like mambo and changüí, Afro-Cuban chants, and ballads, as well as the more modern timba. However, her repertoire is more extensive as she explores American soul and jazz effortlessly.
Cubafonía is Daymé’s second album and very different from her debut album. While her debut Havana Cultura Sessions focused on electronic dance music culture, Cubafonía features an irresistible acoustic rhythm section and more conventional instrumentation.
Most of the songs are in Spanish, although Daymé also sings a couple of songs in English and has a trilingual song titled “Valentine” where she inserts some English and French.
In recent months, Cuban musicians have released a series of dazzling piano-based albums. Cubafonía focuses on vocal talent and Daymé Arocena is one of the best and equally spectacular.
The British DJ, record label owner and producer Gilles Peterson is mastermind behind such recordings as the Jazz Juice Street Sounds recording series, Acid Jazz and Other Illicit Grooves, Black Jazz Radio, Gilles Peterson Digs America: Brownswood USA and Gilles Peterson Presents Sonzeira Talkin’ Loud, as well as countless other recordings including remixes Raphael Gualizzi ‘Reality & Fantasy,’ Seu Jorge ‘Burguesinha,’ Meshell N’Degeocello Friends and Chambao Duende Del Sur. If that weren’t enough, Mr. Peterson has worked with such artists as Mala, Ghostpoet, Lefto, Simbad and helped advance the careers of Jamiroquai, Roni Size and Erykah Badu.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Mr. Peterson has launched a new series called Havana Cultura, this three CD set comes complete with a feature length documentary directed by Charlie Inman. Opening the series with Havana Club Rumba Sessions, out on his own Brownswood Records label, Mr. Peterson kicks off this series with a kickass selection of remixes that is savagely cool.
Remix fans get more than the standard worked over tracks where the soul of the original is lost. No, these remixes walk that razor’s edge of maintaining original integrity and fashioning something new. Exploring the guaguanco, yambu and columbia roots of the rumba, Havana Club Rumba Sessions pools a collection of tracks by some of Cuba’s premier rumberos and turns them inside out with an equally impressive set of remix artists. Of course with the Cuban percussion supplied by the likes of Joel Driggs Rodriguez, Barbaro “Machito” Y. Crespo, Ramon Tamayo Martinez, Yovani Diaz and Lucumi, it’s hard to go wrong.
Opening the sultry and delicious “Yambu” with vocals provided by the lovely Dayme Arocena and remixed by Japanese masters Daisuke Tanabe and Yosi Horikawa, the Rumba Sessions delves deep into the meaty richness Cuban music has thrived and flourished on with its dazzling array of African rhythms and roots.
Motor City Drum Ensemble takes on “La Rumba Experimental” that is just crazy good with sleek jazzy sensibilities and plushy keyboards. Havana Club Rumba Sessions just gets better with additions like quick paced, vocal studded remix of “La Plaza” by Poirier, the thrumming goodness of “Havana Sessions” laid down by Pablo Fierro and the sizzling “Rumba Version” by Al Dobson, Jr. Tenderlonious’s remix of “Rumba Tierna” is indeed a standout, as is the richly worked “Yuka Music” by Mo Kolours.
Havana Club Rumba Sessions makes the masterful remix a thing a beauty. These remixes bridge the gaps between tradition and innovation without losing a single thread of the music’s very roots, where the past’s musical roots are propelled into the future without losing the very music traditions that was so captivating in the beginning.
Havana Club Rumba Sessions allows for the Cuban to shine through brilliantly against the riches the remix artists bring to the table and the combination is stunning.