Womad Q&A: Dayme Arocena

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A report by Tara Shaskey for the Taranaki Daily News.

Singer, composer, arranger and bandleader, Dayme Arocena was recently dubbed Cuba’s finest vocalist. The young Afro-Cuban artist, mentored by renowned disc jockey and record label owner Gilles Petersen, won the prestigious Juno Award in 2015. She 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 talks with Tara Shaskey ahead of her performance at Womad NZ.

Womad is such a diverse lineup of talent from all around the globe, for people who may not have heard of your group, describe what your music is like?  
It’s jazz mixed with Cuban traditions and folklore.

How long ago did your journey with music begin and at what age?
All my life. I can’t tell, but when I was eight I joined the choir in my community and I used to do the solos…maybe that is a good reference.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
It just comes by itself…inspiration is everywhere.

What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
The first time at Worldwide Festival with Ed Motta in Sete.

Please share with us something about your home country that we may not know?
We have more music than I could tell you…every musician around the world should come down.

What are you most looking forward to about playing Womad?
I want to meet musicians from everywhere…I’d love to have the opportunity to talk with them and exchange experiences and energies.

Have you ever attended a Womad festival before? If so, what were your thoughts?
Yeah, Womad UK 2017. I didn’t get the chance to look around but my gig was awesome.

What sort of music have you been listening to lately?
Hip hop with jazz. I’m trying to get the spirit of the street…an urban message with a jazzy flavour.

Do you have any hobbies?
Studying and dance.

Why is it important for the people of the world to hear different styles of music?
Because through the music you can understand the identity of a country. These days we need people with worldwide thoughts.

What are three things that make you happy? 
Music, dessert and my boy.

Do you have any projects you are working on at the moment? 
I am writing music…that is my project of life.

  • Featuring six stages delivering 30 hours of entertainment over three days, Womad NZ 2018 is on from March 16 to 18. The day schedule will be released in December 2017. Tickets are on sale now.

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