Singer, composer, director
At 23 years, Daymé Arocena is a skilful, charismatic presence in Cuban music. Her powerful voice and her ability to absorb music of any kind, particularly jazz and Cuban neo-soul, with her devotion for Afro-Cuban culture, made her into one of the most exciting artists of Cuban contemporary scene.
In the beginning of her musical academic career she tried one’s luck whit different instruments like piano, violin and guitar, until she decides on choir directing, when she realized that her voice it was her best instrument.
Since she was a child she joined to several children bands, and in 2010 she became a member of Sumsum Corda, a fusion jazz quintet with which she participated in tours for Norway and Nicaragua.
After the experience being a member of Joaquin Betancourt’s big band, she decided to create Alami, an all-girl band. In 2013, after participate with Alami in the Jazz Plaza Festival, she was invited by Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnet to join to her project Maqueque (with which she continues collaborating today), with which she recorded the album of the same name that obtain the 2015 Juno Award, in Best Album Jazz category.
Her work attracts the attention of organizers of Havana Cultura, a platform for the promotion of contemporary Cuban culture, that invite her to became part of Havana Cultura Mix, that had as result “Havana Cultura Mix – The Soundclash!”, an album produced by the DJ Gilles Peterson, who call DJs around the world to work with Cuban musicians. In the end, she sung on three tracks on the album, including the massive “U Knew Before”.
After her participation in Havana Cultura Mix, Gilles Peterson decide join her to the catalogue of her record label Brownswood Recordings, where she made her debut in the beginning of 2015 with an EP entitled “The Havana Cultura Sessions”, and later she made her first album as soloist, “Nueva Era”, which has attracted the attention of the public and critics in Europe and USA.
She has collaborations with various and renowned artists as the jazz players Roberto Fonseca and Yasek Manzano, the rapper Kumar, and the Russian Dj Raumskaya, with which recorded the mentioned “U Knew Before”.
She has turned up in many prominent stages like Jazz Na Fabrica Festival, in Brazil; Les Voix Humaines Festival, in Cuba; the Duc des Lombards and Worldwide Festival, in France. St. Pancras Old Church, in London, Peter Barakan Live’s Magic Show, in Japon and Het Depot club, in Belgium.
At the end of 2015 her debut album “Nueva Era” was selected by National Public Radio of USA (NPR) as one of the best 50 albums of the year, appointing like a record full of material that basically redefines the stereotype of what it is Cuban music, and they say on her that she is one of the most innovate musician of the country.