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A Musician's Guide To Cuba

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Friday June 30, 2017

From Austin Woman

A MUSICIAN’S GUIDE TO HAVANA, CUBA: Rising Cuban artist Dayme Arocena follows her rhythm in the city of eternal summer.
By: Kelly DiNardo

It’s not often a 24-year-old earns comparisons to musical legends Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Celia Cruz, but critics and fans are continuing to heap just such enthusiastic praise on Dayme Arocena. The Cuba-born artist’s debut album, Nueve Era, showcased her musical mashup of jazz, salsa, soul, pop, hip-hop and Afro-Cuban chants and rhythms and was released to critical acclaim. Cubafonia, her second album, released in March, is an homage to Cuban music and culture, something Arocena thinks has been forgotten in the decades of political turmoil.

Cuba remains a poor country, but it’s also culturally rich, alive and vibrant. Music permeates the streets of Havana and, when she’s not on tour, Arocena can most likely be found listening or dancing to timba, rumba, jazz and reggaeton. It doesn’t matter what time of year one visits Cuba, she says, because “Cuba is eternal summer.” Here’s a look at where this rising music legend goes to experience the best of Havana’s vibrant and thriving cultural scene.

I would describe Havana as… “Authentic, unique, hot, spicy, happy, humble, rich, sublime and sexy. Havana is so sexy. Havana is a city where you can feel at home. We are always up to help people. We always have something to show, to discover, to open. We have this beautiful weather. We have really interesting people. We are mixing our roots. The weather, the beach, the people—we have this beautiful combination in Cuba. That’s what makes it sexy.”

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