Dayme Arocena: Jazz is Really Jelaous

Authenticity? Yes, it’s a good concept to speak about this little girl who becomes great with talent and not with her heels.

I will start by the end of the conversation, just so you can have an idea of ​​what kind of woman is Daymé Arocena who has good reasons to sing jazz shoeless:

"It's just comfort, I'm pretty small, I'm very chubby and people kept telling me to sing on heels, it was a rebellious act on my behalf, because that was not me, I did not feel well, I did not feel comfortable and then against all odds, I decided to be well myself and as the only way I feel well with myself is singing barefooted, it's comfort, just that... "

You see, the right word: authentic, natural, spontaneous, absolutely Cuban like her last album, about which she commented:

"Cubafonia is an album that reveres Cuban music in every sense of the word, that's why we named it like that because we were trying to talk about the musical sound of Cuba, but of contemporary Cuba, of the 21st Century. Cubafonia is an album of 11 unpublished songs, all of them are mine, but inspired by Cuban rhythms, changüí, old rumba, tango congo, chachacha, bolero, guajira, pilon, native rhythms of Cuban music, but from another point of view, a more youthful view, in different languages, the album comprises four languages, there is a changüí song in Spanish, English, French and Yoruba. "

Daymé is one of seven Cubans who have been nominated to the Grammy Awards in the Best Latin Jazz Album category, by the album Oddara, the project Jane Bunnett and Maqueque is young, but it has achieved successes that give it the authority to comment on the involvement of women in the jazz made in Cuba:

"I think women have just started to wake up, they have started to get involved, the important thing is not to get confused, because jazz is a really jealous genre, singing or playing jazz is like making classical music, it's like singing opera, opera singers, for instance, once they’ve mastered opera or classical music they can do everything else, there are people who say: I sing salsa, reggaeton, timba, bolero and jazz, it’s not like that, you sing jazz and from jazz you can sing bolero, salsa, rumba, reggaeton, always with a jazz vision, because what a jazzman has to do every day of this world is to think musically as a jazz player and that is the starting line for all the phenomena of music. All Cuban jazz musicians approach the genres of Cuban music, because it’s our identity, but you have to think as a jazz player first to be able to insert it into the genre, not to insert jazz into rumba, for example, but the other way around the rumba within jazz, because jazz is the most jealous so we want more women to play jazz and do it well ... "

Another topic that her personal experience offers good arguments is the presence of vocals in Cuban jazz:

"Honestly, what is happening with women or with the girls who try to make the genre is interesting, and I talk about girls because we are almost all women who sing jazz, there are not many boys who sing jazz. They are generally attracted to instruments
and not to the singing in this genre. What happens is that there is no information, I tried to find it, but it’s really scarce. Right now what happens is that in Cuba there are many talented people, there are many talented singers, they want to do things, but they lack research and I wish we could have more space for that, because there are talented people in Cuba, there are good singers who could make good sung jazz in Cuba ... Yasek Manzano is one of the people who has supported that idea. He believes in the singers, but he cannot do everything on his own, we need more people like him, we need that the information and space also increase, so that it becomes a real movement, with strong foundations ...

Do you have any personal projects? Of course, besides going to the Grammy Awards ceremony this month ...

"... after I have to sing in this same January, at the Preservation Hall Gala in San Francisco, which is something awesome that they had invited me, because the Preservation Hall has been doing interesting exchanges throughout Cuba for years and then follows for the first time a tour through Australia and New Zealand and starting on April the tours that are like the regular ones, which we always do in the United States and Europe ...

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdes

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Prince, George Michael to get Grammy tributes

Prince and George Michael will be honored at the Grammy Awards on Sunday with separate tributes, but organizers did not say on Wednesday which musicians will perform them.

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said "Purple Rain" singer Prince, and British star Michael, who both died suddenly in 2016, were "pop icons who showcased rare musical genius and otherworldly charisma."

"The passings of two such creative innovators were a huge loss for the creative community; The Recording Academy is humbled to pay homage to their tremendous legacies on the Grammy stage," Portnow added in a statement.

The Recording Academy said it was not announcing details of the tributes and who will participate.

Prince, a seven-times Grammy winner, was found dead at his Minneapolis studio complex in April. An autopsy revealed the 57 year-old died of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl.

Michael, 53, known for songs like "Last Christmas" and "Freedom," was found dead at his British home on Christmas Day. The double Grammy winner's manager said the singer died of heart failure, but the official cause is still being investigated.

David Bowie, who died in January 2016, was honored at last year's Grammys in a tribute performed by Lady Gaga.

Bowie's final release, "Blackstar," is competing for four Grammys at the awards show in Los Angeles on Sunday, including best alternative album.

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Chucho Valdes Opens 32th International Jazz Festival in Cuba

Havana, Dec 16 (Prensa Latina) The 32nd edition of the International Jazz Plaza Festival has began in Cuba, with a performance by legendary pianist, Chucho Valdes, which was described as historical and unrepeatable.

Valdes himself said, 'this is without rehearsal, if we do it a thousand times, a thousand times will be different.'

A few seconds later, American trumpeter, Terence Blanchard; and his compatriot, Christian McBride, started playing along with Valdes, creating a unique harmony among them.

Valdes, Blanchard and McBride shared the stage for the first time and the result was a superb performance, a high-carat jam session that began with "Blue Monk", a theme by Thelonious Monk, who is an American jazz pianist and composer with a special gift for improvisation.

Dressed in a blue beret and white suit, the Cuban pianist, who has won five Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards, stated that Blanchard, a six-time Grammy winner, and McBride, who has won three, have a legacy in jazz despite being young men.

The three musicians performed yesterday at a concert held at Mella Theater in Havana that ended almost at midnight.

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Cuban Duo Gente de Zona Wins Latin Grammy Again

Havana, Nov 18 (Prensa Latina) Fans of the Cuban duo Gente de Zona today celebrated the win of a Latin Grammy Award for the album Visualizate, the fourth award they have received in recent years.

The group formed by Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom won the Grammy in the category of best tropical fusion album, a category in which they competed with Cali Flow Latino, Cosa Nuestra, Explosión Negra and Treo.

Cuba attended the 17th edition of the Latin Grammys with the popular dance music orchestra La Charanga Habanera, the National Septeto Ignacio Piñeiro, the singer Omara Portuondo, the maestro Leo Brouwer, the troba musician, Tony Ávila, the singer-songwriter Francisco Céspedes, El B and Jacob Forever.

The group recently recorded with Marc Anthony - declared Person of the Year at the awards - in the songs La Gozadera and Traidora, which have headed the charts for several weeks in several Latin American countries.

The Cuban duo emerged in 2000. They fuse reggaetón with other rhythms such as merengue and salsa. They have also collaborated with Pitbull, Juan Magán, Enrique Iglesias and Los del Río.

Visualize, is their third album and was the first recorded in the United States.

Recently, they were also awarded the Billboard at the Latin Music Awards.

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Latin Grammys: J.Lo, Marc Anthony recreate iconic duet, share a sweet kiss

The most anticipated surprise of the Latin Grammys ended with a sweet kiss.

Marc Anthony shared the stage with ex-wife Jennifer Lopez for a rendition of a passionate 1984 classic, “Olvidame y pega la vuelta.” When the heartfelt performance was over, the entranced fans joined in a chorus to ask for a kiss – and the couple obliged.

The rumor mill that JLo would be making a special appearance at the annual music award show started working overtime when a fellow musician from “Gente de Zona,” a reggaeton group from Cuba, shared a photo of him with Anthony and Lopez.

Lopez called her ex-husband a “living legend.”

“He has given us so many classical (songs) that will stay forever,” the singer said in Spanish.

“Even with our own journey, we have learned a lot, we have grown so much and you will always be many things in my life -- a soulmate, a father and someone I love.” Lopez and Anthony have two boys together.

“He’s not only the person of the year, he’s the person of all time," she said, alluding to the designation of Marc Anthony as the Latin Grammy “Person of the Year” the day before.

While Lopez and Anthony’s performance was definitely a highlight of the night, other bright parts included performances by Pharrell Williams and Rachel Platten, who teamed up with J Balvin and Diego Torres, respectively.

Williams and Balvin, who won his second Grammy for best urban album, performed their newest megahit “Safari” while Platten and Torres showcased a bilingual version of “Siempre Estare Ahi.”

“This shows that they are part of our culture and make it mainstream,” Balvin said backstage.

The night’s biggest winners included Carlos Vives, Fonseca, the late Juan Gabriel and newcomer Manuel Medrano with two awards each.

Juan Gabriel had never received a Latin Grammy Award during his lifetime, but on Thursday, he became a posthumous indisputable winner. A video tribute showed highlights from his decades onstage, and the presenters of the night's final prize called on the audience to "applaud for the master."

Gabriel died in August at age 66.

Carlos Vives, whose duet with Shakira “Bicicleta” took home Record of the Year and Song of the Year, actually forgot to thank his compatriot during both of his speeches.

Backstage he revealed that he had written down her name, her children’s names and even her partner’s, Gerard Pique, to thank them.

“I really thank her for galling in love with the song,” Vives said in Spanish.

Unlike 2015, politics did not take center stage, but it wasn’t far from many people’s minds.

When introducing Platten and Torres, co-host Roselyn Sanchez took a slight shot at President-elect Donald Trump’s controversial immigration proposal.

“There should never been barriers or walls that separate us,” she said in Spanish.

Brother-sister duo Jesse and Joy Huerta won their second Grammy for their album “Un besito mas” and dedicated their win to “all Latinos in the United States and all the minority communities.”

“There is a movement that is going and our message is to keep very united,” Joy Huerta said. “We are Mexican-American and I think our parents taught us to be anti-bullying and this is bullying to us, and we must use our microphone.”

“While people want to build walls, music builds bridges and love,” Jesse Huerta added.

The Latin Grammy Awards were presented at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and broadcast live on Univision.

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Music World Pays Tribute to Lionel Richie’s Career

LOS ANGELES – Artists of all ages, styles and origins have gathered in Los Angeles to pay tribute to the career of Lionel Richie, who was honored as the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year in the run up to the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, to be held Monday.

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