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CUBA’S DAYAME AROCENA



CUBA’S DAYAME AROCENA

She steps on stage dressed in white, all white from her headdress down. She reminds you of those fat bodied African women who appear sluggish yet at the same time graceful and agile, in her case the mix is exactly right so that she looks like a sensual Cuban rumbera. It’s a hot Havana summer afternoon and she also reminds me of Cesaria Evora because she’s shoeless.

The tumbadora starts, then the piano, the bongos, and then the drums. Her voice is thunderous when she welcomes the crowd. She greets everyone by saying “Soy Oya soy bongo….la rumba me llamo yo!” That’s how she starts an outdoor concert in Havana before a crowd that doubted she would show-up because of the afternoon thunderstorm that just cleared. She sings jazz and rumba in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

The crowd has been waiting months for this day because Dayame was in the U.S., where she performed in Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia, seducing Americans with her sonic caress. She returned in July to spend the summer at home.

Her potent voice with its great range, she usually sings jazz and rumba, combined with her devotion to Afro-Cuban tradition make her one of today’s great young Cuban artists. She’s been performing as a lead singer since the age of fourteen.

Once she starts, everyone sings-along with her first song “Lo que Fue,” from her last CD “Cubafonia.” Of its’ eleven songs she sings four in English and the rest in a Spanish that will give you goose-bumps even if you don’t understand Spanish.

“Que risa me da…que risa…ehhh!!! Ayyy!!! Y no me compres más…chocolate ni caramelos ni flores…no esperes que te perdone…”

I forgot and then realized that she stutters! Have you ever heard that stutterers can sing without stuttering? Well, Dayame stutters and she learned how to communicate without any bumps! Life is also a song!

She’s already preparing a trip to Colombia, hopefully you can see her perform when you come to Cuba to support the Cuban people! All of us could use a little support! Dayame has three albums to her credit, “Cubafonia, Nueva Era,” and “One Takes.”

Dina GomGar


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