Music » Music Feature

Daymé Arocena

The Cuban songstress comes to The New Parish.


As America’s relations with Cuba grow friendlier, whispers of which emerging Cuban artists we should be following are already hitting stateside music blogs. While many people are familiar with Afro-Cuban jazz and pop legends like Celia Cruz, we can hopefully look forward to a larger presence of younger, fresher Cuban cultural icons in the years to come. One Cuban artist making waves right now is Daymé Arocena, a 22-year-old singer from Havana with an idiosyncratic, deep, resonant voice. Her jazz and neo-soul stylings evoke traditional Afro-Cuban folk music, dub, jazz, and pop singer-songwriters such as Sade. Arocena is a devotee of Santaria, a Caribbean religion with roots in Nigeria’s Yoruba faith, a spiritual practice that prominently features female deities. Her music often invokes her spiritual beliefs and heritage in novel ways, with elaborate, layered harmonies, breezy instrumentation with island vibes, and occasional electronic elements adding new layers to the traditions she references. Catch her in Oakland at The New Parish on Sunday.