‘They have tumbao’: A conversation with Daymé Arocena

Friday, April 14, 2023 | 6PM EST / In-Person Event

We cordially invite you to a live conversation between Daymé Arocena, renowned Afro-Cuban vocalist, Rosa Marquetti, researcher-in-residence at the Hemispheric Institute, and Professor Lena Burgos-Lafuente. This exchange will emphasize the role and place of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Latinx women in the creation of spaces and influence in an increasingly diverse and globalized industry. Daymé Arocena, one of the youngest and most successful women in the current jazz-fusion scene who embodies the ancestral values of musical cultures, is a paradigmatic case for understanding and facing current challenges in the industry and beyond.

This is a virtual and in-person event.

The event will be Spanish. The video documentation will be subtitled in English and available on the website after the event.

image of Dayme Arocena

Daymé Arocena

Born in Havana, Cuba, 1992, Daymé Arocena has been frequently compared to prominent figures such as Celia Cruz, Aretha Franklin, La Lupe and Ella Fitzgerald, Arocena is an award-winning Afro-Cuban jazz singer, who has been described as Cuba’s “finest young female singer.” She is a strong believer in Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religion based on Yoruba principles. To mark her faith and practices, she frequently performs wearing a turban, dressed in white and barefoot. With almost 10 years of experience in the World Music and Latin Jazz Industry, Arocena is one of the most important contemporary voices of Afro-Latin music with a proven track record of performances in 25 different countries all over the world. Lincoln Center (New York), Playboy Jazz Fest (Los Angeles), Library of Congress (Washington), SXSW (Austin), New Orleans Jazz Festival (New orleans) Tiny Desk by NPR (Washington), SF Jazz (San Francisco) and Millenium Park (Chicago) are amongst the most important venues and festivals she has played around the United States. In 2021, Arocena became the youngest Latin-American musician invited to participate in the “Signature Artist” program of the prestigious Berklee College of Music. 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.

photo of Rosa Marquetti

Rosa Marquetti Torres

Born in Alquízar, Havana, Cuba, Rosa Marquetti Torres received a degree in philology from the University of Havana. Her professional connection with Cuban music began in 1993 as an executive at the Pablo Milanés Foundation. The Pablo Milanés Foundation was the first private Afro-descendant institutional initiative in Cuban culture, and since then it has grown, with projects in diverse domains such as the record industry, intellectual property; archival, production, consulting and musical supervision in films and documentaries; curatorship, and historiographic and musicographic research. Marquetti is the author of Chano Pozo: A Life (1915-1948), El Niño con su tres. Andrés Echevarría Callava, Niño Rivera, Desmemoriados. Histories of Cuban Music, as well as Celia in Cuba (1925-1960). She also created and is the editor of the blog Desmemoriados–Histories of Cuban music (, which was founded in 2014. Marquetti has also worked at Magic Music Records, the General Society of Authors and Editors of Spain, and the Gladys Palmera Collection. Her texts and research on major events, characteristics, and figures of Cuban music have been published in specialized and general journals and magazines in Cuba, Colombia, Spain, France, and the United States. She has given lectures at universities and cultural institutions in the United States, Cuba, and Spain, and was named 2022 Mellon Scholar in Residence at the Hemispheric Institute at New York University.


Lena Burgos-Lafuente

Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature, and former director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center, Professor Burgos-Lafuente specializes in Caribbean literatures, poetry, Latin American essay writing, sound studies, and transatlantic literary crossings in the first half of the twentieth century. She received her PhD from New York University in 2011 and was named a recipient of the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2014-2015. Burgos-Lafuente is the author of A la escucha del destiempo: poéticas de la posguerra en el Caribe transatlántico, editor of Untendered Eyes: Literary Politics of Julia de Burgos, co-editor of María Zambrano in Dialogue (Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, 2015) and Cartas a Consuelo, Julia de Burgos’s unpublished correspondence to her sister. She is also co-editor of The Puerto Rico Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Burgos-Lafuente was named the 2019-2020 Wilbur Marvin Scholar of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University for her current project, A la izquierda de la izquierda: Cosmopolitan Communisms in Early to Mid-Twentieth Century Caribbean (1920-1959).

Hemispheric Institute
20 Cooper Square, 5th FL
New York, NY 10003

Event Access

In-person attendance is open to both NYU students, staff, and faculty who are compliant with NYU’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, and to others who can show ID and proof of vaccination (2 shots + 1 booster) at the door.