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Afro-Cuban Singer Daymé Arocena Channels Jazz & Santería In ‘Gods Of Yoruba’

Daymé Arocena premieres “Gods of Yoruba,” an enlivening cover of Horace Silver that blends jazz with Afro-Cuban instrumentation.

Daymé Arocena. Image courtesy of the artist.


Daymé Arocena is what one might call a musical prodigy. The Cuban vocalist began her career at the age of 8, and has been fronting Cuba’s Los Primos band since she was 14. The singer, now 24, is showing no sign of slowing down.

Today, she premieres her latest single “Gods of Yoruba,” an enlivening cover of Horace Silver that blends cool jazz with bustling Afro-Cuban instrumentation.

The track is relaxing and electrifying all at once as Arocena’s chant-like vocals flow over scattered horns and a rapid bass-line. Her singing is subdued as the 8-minute tune transforms into an airy arrangement complete with a polished piano solo and free-form drumming.

"Gods of Yoruba is the perfect mix between my jazzy mood and my spiritual Santería songs,” the singer tells Okayafrica. “It doesn't have any lyrics to hold your mind; you can fly and get connected with the sky: Open heart!”

Listen to the track below and catch Daymé Arocena on her European tour this month, dates are listed beneath.

The singer's upcoming One Takes EP re-imagines six songs, "ranging from Italian obscurities to US house heroes," and is set to drop on May 6 on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings.

Daymé Arocena Tour Dates

April 3, New Parish, Oakland USA

April 13, Cully Jazz Festival, Switzerland

April 14, Monk Club, Rome

April 15, Biko Club, Milan

April 20, AB Club, Brussels

April 21, Rich Mix, London

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Photo courtesy of 1-54/SUTTON.

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Landing in Marrakech is 2018's Most Anticipated Art Event

The leading art fair dedicated to contemporary African art makes its mark on the continent for the first time this weekend.

This weekend, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the leading art fair devoted to contemporary African art, will debut in Marrakech, Morocco. The announcement of the Fair's expansion to the continent last year has left aficionados of contemporary African art in eager anticipation of this "homecoming"—this author included.

1-54 debuted in London in 2013. Although an expansion to New York followed, a presence on the continent was always part of the long-term vision of the founder Touria El Glaoui. Finally, the time has now arrived.

Here are five reasons why we're looking forward to 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Marrakech.

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This Olympic Figure Skater Blew Us Away Again By Pulling Off a Costume Change Mid-Routine

First Maé-Bérénice Méité performed to Beyoncé, now she's effortlessly slaying outfit changes mid-routine. What can't she do?

French-Congolese and Ivorian figure skater, Maé-Bérénice Méité, has pretty much been the life of the Winter Olympic figure skating competition.

Earlier this month, the athlete had the internet shook when she performed her opening routine to two Beyoncé songs. Now she's back with even more black girl magic.

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Video still via YouTube.

10 Stand Out Moments From Janelle Monáe's Powerful Music Videos

Janelle Monae came back making a statement—and we're just as obsessed as you are.

We've got to talk about Janelle Monáe.

Over the past half decade, she's embarked on a profound journey that's solidified her as an artist, creator and activist who isn't afraid to shoot down the stars—or shoot with them.

After having roles in Hidden Figures and Moonlight—two Oscar nominated movies where one won an Oscar, a stellar speech at the Grammy's and a stunning presence at the Black Panther red carpet, she's ready to grace us with "Dirty Computer," the latest musical venture in her Afrofuturistic saga.

To whet our appetites before the album, which is set to release on April 27, Janelle dropped not one but two music videos yesterday. Both are distinctly entertaining: one is a black, intersectional feminist anthem and the other a psychedelic soundtrack of sexual fluidity.

Watch both, then read some of the highlights we gathered from the hypnotizing visuals and powerful wordplay.

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