Special Alert

Black Atlantic: Daymé Arocena

  • March 28, 2019
  • Motorco Music Hall
  • 723 Rigsbee Ave, Durham, NC 27701
  • 8pm
  • $20, $10 Duke Students
  • (919) 684-4444

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The incandescent young singer, composer, and choral director Daymé Arocena is the future of Cuban music. Raised in Havana in a small home crowded with twenty-one people and enlivened by an endless stream of music, Arocena enrolled in one of the country’s chief conservatories as a child. A prodigy, she learned the customs of Western choral music while exploring the intricacy and variety of Cuba’s own synthesis of sounds — indigenous, African, and European. On 2017’s triumphant Cubafonía, her songs combine Cuban sounds — including the sounds of Santería — with gospel’s exultancy and jazz’s flexible spine. Arocena has worked with BBC DJ and impresario Gilles Peterson, leading his acclaimed Havana Club Rumba Sessions. Drawing deeply from her country’s rich musical traditions and buoyed up by an irrepressible enthusiasm, Arocena is a mighty new missionary for modern Cuban culture, rooted in the pride of its past. In March 2018, Duke Performances brought some of the most musically fabled regions of the world to Durham with Black Atlantic, a weeklong festival in downtown Durham celebrating the music of Africa and the African diaspora. Musicians from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela, Mali, the Garifuna people of Honduras, and Spain took the stage at Motorco and the Carolina Theatre. “These six concerts,” wrote Duke professor Laurent Dubois, “remind us of common routes, of the ways Black Atlantic music has helped turn exile and exclusion into grounding and connection.” This season, Black Atlantic returns to Motorco (and adds one concert at Baldwin Auditorium) in search of more cultural connections and imaginative hybrids, with artists from South Africa, Congo, Uganda, Mali/Ivory Coast/France, Mauritania, Cuba, Niger, New York, and Brazil.

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