Daymé Arocena 2024 Mellon Fellow

 Portrait

Daymé Arocena (Havana, 1992) is a Grammy-nominated and Juno-award-winning Afro-Cuban singer and composer. Arocena burst onto the international scene with Nueva Era, her prodigious debut album, in 2015. In the last ten years Arocena has become one of the most important contemporary voices of Afro-Latin music, performing to fans of World Music and Latin Jazz in over 25 countries across the world.

In new album Alkemi, Arocena reinvents her sound, blending neo-soul vocals, Afro-Caribbean beats, and modern pop. Collaborating with renowned producer Eduardo Cabra, and with Vicente García as special guest on “A Fuego Lento” and Rafa Pabön on “Suave y Pegao,” Alkemi moves from jazz influence to bossa nova to Afro-Caribbean beats and urban stylings, challenging the conventions of Latin pop. 

Arocena’s new release is the culmination of a musical journey deeply influenced by Afro-Cuban folk traditions and shaped by the artist’s  international experiences. Alkemi is a spiritually charged exploration of Afro-Latin grooves that seamlessly fuses tradition and innovation. In 2021, Arocena became the youngest Latin-American musician to complete Berklee College of Music's "Signature Artist" program, joining the ranks of  Latin legends like Juan Luis Guerra, Alejandro Sanz, Chucho Valdes, Paquito de Rivera and Gloria Estefan. Arocena has been nominated for a Grammy Award and, as a member of the all-female jazz collective Maqueque led by Jane Bunnett, received the Juno Award in 2015 for Best Jazz Album.

In celebration of the release of Alkemi, and as Mellon Artist in Residence at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute during Spring 2024, Arocena will impart masterclasses and participate in public conversations focusing on beats and styles from her new album and on the challenges facing Black Latin American and Latinx artists in the Latin Music industry.

Instagram: @daymearocena 

Rolling StoneAfro-Cuban Singer Daymé Arocena Announces 'Alkemi', Her First Album in Five Years