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Tuesday April 17, 2018

From The Dartmouth

Daymé Arocena’s Energizing Show Celebrates Cuban History
By: Savannah Miller

Daymé Arocena walks onto the stage like a ray of light. Barefoot and dressed head-to-toe in white, Arocena finally appears on the left side of Spaulding Auditorium. Her band — comprised only of a bassist, pianist and drummer — has played up to a crescendo for the past five minutes. She steps out of the darkness with a beaming smile, and the audience claps ferociously. Her entrance seems a spectacle, a finale, yet the show is just getting started.

[…] Arocena often got in on her band’s fun and encouraged her audience to do so as well. She employed audience members as backup vocals, teaching them Spanish phrases and cueing them in. One moment called for audience participation. Arocena brought onto the stage a woman from the crowd, attending the show with her husband, to show her how Cubans expressed love to one another — through repeatedly singing the phrase “I love you” on their knees with an upbeat drum beat behind them. Arocena then gave the audience member a hug for being a good sport.

“You see now why it had to be you and not your husband,” she said as the audience roared with laughter.

Arocena was endearing and genuine, and her pure love for music and people was the main takeaway from the performance. One of my favorite moments came when she talked about her parents, who have been married many years and have worked through their issues with love and understanding. This was followed by a performance of the sweet “Todo Por Amor,” inspired by and dedicated to her parents.

In the last moments of her performance, the crowd rose to a standing ovation. Arocena told her band to keep playing. She wanted to see people dancing, and she did.

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