Audio

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

Interview

This Compilation Shines a Light On East African Underground Music

We talk to a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation from Uganda's Nyege Nyege.

Nyege Nyege, a label in Kampala, Uganda is channelling the confidence brimming over a whole continent. Africa is no longer the future. For dance music, its time is right now.

Music For the Eagles is a compilation released in conjunction with Soundcloud to showcase the best new acts that East Africa has to offer outside the mainstream. A new wave of artists firmly blasting non-conformist energy for you to spasm to. Music that takes you places. Otim Alpha's high BPM wedding frenzy of incessant rasping vocals accompanied by feverous violin will have you clawing the walls to oblivion. Anti Vairas' dancehall from a battleship with super galactic intentions doesn't even break a sweat as it ruins you. FLO's beautiful sirens call, is a skittish and detuned nursery rhyme that hints at a yearning for love but reveals something far more unnerving. Ecko Bazz's tough spiralling vocal over sub-bass and devil trap energy is an anthem that can only be bewailed. And Kidane Fighter's tune is more trance-like prayer. These are only some of the highlights for you to shake it out to.

We got to chat with a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation as they took a break from the studio below.

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