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Daymé Arocena: Voice of Cuba’s Future

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Monday July 30, 2018

From WaxPoetics

Daymé Arocena: Voice of Cuba’s Future
By: Tamara P. Carter

Daymé Arocena is a burst of light energy. A million shattered pieces of Orion nebula in the form of singer-composer-star, spreading love, positivity and ancestral blessings—a interstellar body in the constellation of Afro-Cuban world music. Her smile and deep hearty laugh illuminate any space, and is just as much a source of joy and resilience for the African diaspora as it is an indication of the new era of Cuban sound.

Tell me what’s behind the name of the album Cubafonia and how you’ve grown since the Havana Cultura Sessions.

Fonia is Latin for musical sound. Cubafonia is the musical sound of Cuba. I don’t have the ego to say I’m the musical sound of Cuba. The main difference between the new album and the first is I didn’t record the first album in my country. I wasn’t with my people when I made it. I was in mostly in London. But with this album, I’ve come back to my roots. For me it’s an album, where every single track is a rhythm of Cuba. “Lo Que Fue” is bolero, and chachacha. “Maybe Tomorrow” has some guahira. “Mambo Na’Mà” has mambo. “Como” is cuban pop. Then there’s changüi, old rumba, tango congo, bolero, pilon… all of those rhythms are Cuban but from a new point of view.

I wrote the music of this album while traveling, but I came back to Cuba to record it. I came back home, where after traveling I was rediscovering my own world. I felt all my ancestral influences—I was deep into my culture. I’d listen to some of the tracks after recording and sometimes I couldn’t believe those were my songs. I was feeling like wow. I couldn’t have written this. Someone else must have written these songs. I’d listen and think I didn’t write them, they must have been a gift from somewhere.

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