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Singer, composer, arranger and bandleader, Daymé Arocena was recently dubbed by The Guardian as “Cuba’s finest vocalist”.

The young Afro-Cuban artist, mentored by Gilles Petersen and winner of the prestigious Juno Award in 2015, has a rich understanding of her heritage but is also constantly finding new musical inspiration and connection through her love of soul and jazz.

She and her band play next year's Womad in Taranaki (details below) and so now is an excellent opportunity to flick her our specially designed world music questionnaire . . .

The first musician whose music really affected you was ?

Whitney Houston 

Your first appearance on stage before an audience was . . . (And you were how old?)

At four years old in my kindergarten. 

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . ?


The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are so emotionally moving are ?

I Put Spell on You (Nina's version) 

Canción Fácil  (Marta Valdés) 

Primavera ( Tom Jobim) 

The most unusual place you have performed would be . . .?

Central Park New York on the big rock

The most important book you have read is . . .? And why?

Del amor y otros demonios - Gabriel García Márquez... because it is the only one that sticks in my mind. 

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

Sade and I would sing  "Is it a Crime"

The three films you'd like anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Havana Blues // Ernesto Daranas 

The last CD, vinyl album or download you bought was . . .

Drunk: Thundercat 

When you travel, what is it you most miss about your home country?

My family 

The artist you most admire would be . . .

Nina Simone 

Your favourite meal to share with friends would be . . .? (Care to share a simple recipe?)

Cuban Fried Rice ( but the recipe isn't simple... ) 

Do you practice every day, and if so for how long?

I'm silent for the first hour every morning. That is the best practice I know for a singer. 

David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” If that were true, you would spend them where, doing . . .?

Making music, tours and love. 

And finally, do you have any unrealised goals in music?

Be immortal 

For more on next year's Womad including tickets etc check out their website here.


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