For the Cuban Music of Today

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Tuesday April 24, 2018

From Walker Art

Daymé Arocena: For the Cuban Music of Today
By: William G. Franklin

There is something refreshing and promising in Cuban singer Daymé Arocena. When so much about Cuba’s rich cultural and political history has been the subject of films, books, music albums, and exhibits over the years, Arocena’s authenticity as a singer and performer reminds us of the right of artists to shine on their own. She does this while connecting us to Cuba’s rich African roots, proving her innate musical acuity, and demonstrating her ability to cross over other styles of modern music.

‘La Rumba Me Llamo Yo,’ a song from her second solo album, Cubafonía (2017), is a straight infusion of rumba and salsa with enough rhythm and melodic phrases to put anybody to dance regardless of their skills. But its her lyrics that intrigue and captivate the listener even more. A line in the first verse of the aforementioned song, ‘Soy hija de la suerte’ (‘I’m the daughter of luck’), suggests her existential outlook on life and the future. At only 26 years of age, Arocena has revealed to us a self-prescribed fate.


Arocena is a very talented and humble young woman whose aspirations are deeply ingrained in her deep appreciation and love of music and in her essence as a Caribbean woman. She is a gem that has been discovered, not a fabrication of the industry. Everywhere she goes with her band, she leaves audiences in awe and wanting more, recalling the voices and essence of American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald and Cuban-American Celia Cruz, a comparison drawn by many.

Read more of this glowing review here