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Guest Playlist: Daymé Arocena


Daymé Arocena needs little introduction. Her phenomenal voice has been stunning audiences worldwide since she burst on the scene with her debut album Nueva Era, on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings, in 2015. Now she's back, with her second full length, titled Cubafonía. 

On Cubafonía Daymé's incredible talent for both singing and songwriting shine through once again as she draws for classic Cuban rhythms and sounds from around the world. The result is a record deeply rooted in the rich musical make-up of her home and her experiences from performing across the world. 

We first got together with Daymé for a quick interview ahead of her Church of Sound performance last summer. This time we're back with eight tracks - some that have formed the inspiration behind her forthcoming LP, others that are simply forgotten favourites. Get stuck in.

La Lupe - ‘Con El Diablo En El Cuerpo’

"This song was the first time that I heard La Lupe. It’s just insane, it’s so good. I just heard it and said, "Oh my god, I wanna sing that song." So I made my own, different arrangement for this song. It was like a devil arrangement with this choir, and weird voices, like weird, complicated things happening you know."

Nina Simone - ‘I Put A Spell On You’

"A classic from a real hero for me. I love all of her music."

Benny Moré - ‘Bonito Y Sabroso’

"One of the masters of mambo, Benny Moré has influenced Cuban music a lot. I’ve learnt a lot from him too, bringing some of that mambo sound into my new album."

Concha Buika - ‘Volveras’

"Concha Buika is one of the artists who I think sings with the flavour of Spain. Harmonies and complicated rhythms, the accent they use in different moments, you know. It makes me so impressed. We call it syncopation, but for them I think it's accent."

La Lupe - ‘La Reina’

"Another one from one of my biggest favourites of Cuban singers. I listen to this song constantly."

Kendrick Lamar - ‘Alright’

"I love Kendrick! My piano player fell in love with his music and showed me it here in Cuba."

Robert Glasper feat. Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michell - ‘Ah Yeah’

"This is the song by Robert Glasper that I couldn’t get out of my head when I heard it."

Sade - ‘Is It A Crime’

My father wanted to marry Sade. I’ve had all my life listening to her, hearing her music around the house.

Daymé Arocena's new LP Cubafonía will be released on Brownswood Recordings on March 10. 

Pick up your copy on bandcamp here.