As the U.S. and Cuba normalize relations politically, the musical effects of the thaw are already being felt. Singer Daymé Arocena invokes the orishas as she and bandmates Rafael Aldama and Jorge Luis Lagarza Perez set out to draw connections between the music of the two countries. Arocena's voice is a deft combination of Aretha Franklin's soul and the sabor of Cuban music queen Celia Cruz.
As you'll see in the video, Arocena's performances are fueled by her surprisingly mature songwriting (she's only 24), as well as an irrepressible personality that projects warmth and fun, not to mention a million-watt smile. The level of musicianship on display here provides an extraordinary window into the talent waiting to be discovered in Cuba. It's fun to imagine what other joys await.
Nueva Era is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)
- "El Ruso"
Producers: Felix Contreras, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Kara Frame; Production Assistant: Jackson Sinnenberg; Photo: Brandon Chew/NPR.
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