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Music, Laughter, Honey: Dayme Arocena's Secret Recipe39:29

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Cuban singer Daymé Arocena plays guest DJ on this week's episode of Alt.Latino. (Getty Images)closemore
Cuban singer Daymé Arocena plays guest DJ on this week's episode of Alt.Latino. (Getty Images)

When I first heard Cuban vocalist Dayme Arocena, I heard the influence of both Celia Cruz and Aretha Franklin. That may seem like an unlikely combination of inspirations, but it's not.

Arocena isn't even 25, and she's already assembled a catalog of stop-you-in-your-tracks recordings, first for the influential British radio host and producer Gilles Peterson and then as a member of Maqueque, a Cuban band assembled by Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett.

La Reina Del Latin Soul. (Courtesy of the artist)
La Reina Del Latin Soul. (Courtesy of the artist)

In this week's show, Arocena disputes the idea that Cuban performers were isolated from U.S. music for the past 50 years. The countries' give-and-take is heard in recordings that were widely available as European imports or from Latin America. If that weren't already evident in her music, it's certainly clear in Alt.Latino's conversation with her this week.

Dayme Arocena's vibrant personality is reflected not just in her powerful records, but also in this raucous interview. We had tons of fun, and we hope you do, too.

Copyright NPR 2016.

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