How could you possibly sing to los santos without a Batá drum? Not a single tumbadora. Not even un chekere perdido made it on the stage during Daymé Arocena’s performance at the Skirball Center.
And she didn’t need it. Her voice was more than enough. Nonetheless, she was accompanied by three equally talented Cuban musicians, a pianist, a bassist and a drummer (on a kit). She opened with Madres (her ode to Yemaya and Ochun) from her first album Nueva Era and then most of her songs from her latest production, Cubafonía.
Her second album is representative of modern-day Cuba: optimistic, improvisational and openly Santera. The first song, as is tradition, is dedicated to Eleggua (para abrir los caminos) and shows off her range and sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s the musical equivalent of falling through a tunnel and by the time the second song starts, you’ve landed smack in the middle of a Havana street. Modupue for the free plane ticket, Daymé.
Must-hear: La Rumba Me Llamo Yo, Mambo Na’Mà and Valentine.