Tina Brown's 7th Annual Women In The World Summit - Day 1
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Cuban Songstress Dayme Arocena Is The World's Next Jazz Phenomenon

It's not often that a 24-year-old garners international acclaim and musical comparisons to musical giants Nina Simone and Celia Cruz, but Cuban-born Dayme Arocena is no ordinary artist.

Raised in Havana, she was hailed a musical prodigy, becoming a trained composer, arranger, choir director, and band leader, in addition to singing. At eight, she began performing semi-professionally; six years later, she became the lead singer of Los Primos. Her charming demeanor has captivated audiences worldwide, particularly with Grettel Jimenez Singer of Paper, in a fascinating interview piece.

The Cuban songstress is an avid practitioner of Santería, an Afro-Caribbean religion based on Yoruba beliefs, frequently dressing in a turban, complimented by an all white ensemble, symbolizing the faith. ""Madres", the first song in the Nueva Era album is meant to be a prayer for my two spiritual mothers, Oshún and Yemayá, who are also mothers to the rivers and the seas. It's essentially about mothers and daughters in the world and the strength we need from each other."

She credits the faith for helping her to deliver an otherworldly performance onstage: "My head is definitely Yemayá, practical, yet nourishing and forgiving, but very protective of those I love. My body however is one hundred percent Oshún. She is the orisha of love, beauty, femininity, and sensuality. Her body is voluptuous and it carries joy just like mine. I wasn't always fond of my body." With the practice of Santería came a blossoming of confidence. "I wasn't always fond of my body. I used to be ashamed of how I looked, how short I am, about my skin color. As a result, my spirit was crushed and my presence on stage was tarnished by my own judgment. That's in the past now. I have mastered the art of not just loving but adoring myself. As women, we must understand who we are and what we're made of, accept what nature has given us, and be comfortable with our sexuality. Nobody can resist that," says Arocena.

It's this connection with potent spiritual forces that enables Arocena to improvise musically, to blend genres if so inclined, despite preferring jazz music in her free time. "My music is frank," she says. "That's one way I can describe it, and that means anything can happen. When la musa shows up, I welcome her and take whatever she's offering: pop, jazz, Afro-Cuban chants, filin… I take it all and give it my all."

Arocena's musical improvisation is also indicative of the new sonic sound emanating from her home country, evident in her debut album Nueva Era, which was released in 2015. "What she is doing is drawing on all this contemporary music that's happening in Cuba. A mixture of salsa, a mixture of jazz, a mixture of hip-hop, neo-soul—that nice little combination," notes NPR music podcast host, Felix Contreras. "And then adding elements of Afro-Cuban rumba with music, with vocals, with dancing styles—all of that, and put in this really wonderful package."

Jazz, according to Arocena, provides a center for musical interpretation and improvisation. "If you mix jazz with everything, it always works—that’s why I love it. It gives me all the opportunity to create as I feel it. I always try to be honest with myself. I always try to create as I feel it, even knowing that new song is always going to have that jazzy taste inside," she told Miami New Times.

The songbird's presence is striking, a walking visual of the magic of Afro-Cuban culture. "Cuba is a talented country, full of talented people with bright ideas. Cubans are innovators by nature, but we have been secluded and isolated from the rest of the world for many decades," explains Arocena. "There's also something beautiful about that, in the sense that it has made us a remarkably pure culture. But this is a different era, and the time has arrived for Cubans to learn how the rest of the world works."

"We are like magicians. We have made cars work for 50 years out of nothing at all," she continues, speaking about her beloved island. "We reinvent life every single day in order to eat and to withstand the quotidian struggles, which aren't few, and we do it with a smile because above all, we celebrate life to the fullest. So what do I want from this new change happening right now? I want freedom, information, and visibility. I want to be able to exchange ideas with the rest of the world, nourish mentally and emotionally from other cultures and vice versa."

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B-Real, DJ Muggs, Sen Dog, Eric Bobo of Cypress Hill attend a ceremony honoring Cypress Hill With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on April 18, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
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It's About Time: Cypress Hill Receives Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Cypress Hill doesn't always get the credit they deserve for their impact on hip-hop history, but they've been honored forever with a revered star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

With a career of 30 years, the legacy of the four-man group of B-Real, DJ Muggs, Sen Dog, and Eric Bobo (along with former member Mellow Man Ace) includes six platinum albums and 90s zeitgeist songs like "How I Could Just Kill A Man," "Insane In The Brain," and "Hand On The Pump." They released their self-titled debut in 1991 and the chart-topping follow-up Black Sunday two years later,  and have continued creating ever since, releasing their ninth and latest album Elephants On Acid in September 2018. Cypress Hill are considered West Coast rap legends, and the first Latino rap group to have multiple gold and platinum records. Anchored by Muggs' gloomy, gritty production and B-Real's nasal, charismatic rhymes, Cypress Hill is as much a part of rap history as anyone.

The group's ceremony included speeches from Latino comedian George Lopez and fellow West Coast rap legend Xzibit, who said 'it's about time' before detailing the group's illustrious career.

Xzibit pointed out Cypress Hill not only brought Latino representation in an industry that largely lacked it, but that they were staunch marijuana advocates way before today's growing legalization.

"The Grammy-nominated group showed us stoned is indeed the way of the walk. Long before the days of legal dispensaries and medical marijuana, Cypress Hill were advocates of that sticky icky icky oooh wee!" Xzibit shared. "...Cypress Hill are pioneers in their own right. Their accomplishments and accolades reach deep in the roots and history books of hip-hop, and today is another chapter in that saga. Yo B-Real, Sen Dog, Muggs, Bobo: you are our Rolling Stones, Ungrateful Dead, you are the West Coast Public Enemy."

Lopez insisted that out of all the 2,600 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, "there are none more important than the one we're about to unveil for Cypress Hill. There's a lot of actors, there's a lot of comedians, there's a lot of entertainers who are on this (Walk of Fame). But there's only one cypress hill, the first Latino hip-hop group. But to everyone who lives the American dream, not the last Latino hip-hop group to ever be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Cypress Hill's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is unveiled pic.twitter.com/cNtpIUd8Xg

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

Xzibit says "it's about time" that Cypress Hill gets their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame pic.twitter.com/DHap9UkzXq

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

George Lopez says there are 2,600 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but "none more important than the star we are about to unveil for Cypress Hill" pic.twitter.com/wuaakjKp6u

— Variety (@Variety) April 18, 2019

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Cypress Hill To Make History With Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

After 30 years in hip-hop, Cypress Hill is due to make history with their latest accolade. The multi-platinum selling group is set to become the first Latino American hip-hop collective to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The induction ceremony, presented by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, takes place on April 18 in front of Greenleaf Restaurant located on Hollywood Blvd.

George Lopez and Xzibit will help unveil the star alongside Rana Ghadban, president & CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The free ceremony is open to the public and will be live streamed via WalkofFame.com.

“We are proud to honor the first Latino American hip-hop recording group,” said Ana Martinez, Producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame said in a press release. “They have been successful as a group for three decades and we know they will continue their success for many years to come.”

Cypress Hill, comprised of B Real, Sen Dog, DJ Muggs, and Eric “Bobo” Correa, is noted as the first Latino-American hip-hop group to have platinum and multi-platinum selling albums with more than 18 million records worldwide. In the early 1990s, Cypress Hill became the first rap group to have two albums in the Billboard 200 thanks to the success of their self-titled double-platinum debut and their sophomore effort, Black Sunday. The album went on to sell more than three million copies and spawned the rap classic “Insane in the Membrane.”

Cypress Hill released their ninth studio album, Elephants On Acid, last year. Following the Walk of Fame induction ceremony, the group will perform at the famous Whiskey a Go Go club in Hollywood.

 

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Join us for our induction to the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

A post shared by Cypress Hill (@cypresshill) on Apr 9, 2019 at 11:36am PDT

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Miguel

Miguel Drops Spanish-Language EP 'Te Lo Dije'

In an ode to his Mexican heritage, Miguel has released a five-track project that is the Spanish/Spanglish version of his 2017 War & Leisure album. Te Lo Dije features collaborations with fellow Spanish-speaking artists Kali Uchis, C. Tangana, Dante Spintetta and Emmanuel Horvilleur, as well as Mexican Mariachi girl band, Flor de Toloache.

Miguel's Spanish-language project is one that he has been teasing his fans with, hence the name of the EP, Te Lo Dije. The phrase means "I told you so" in Spanish and also happens to be the name of a song on the EP. On this collaborative effort, Miguel is mixing in his R&B vibes with his Latin ties, so for fans looking for a mixture of both, they can listen the Spanish version of his hit, "Sky Walker" featuring Spinetta and Horvilleur. Uchis can also be found on "Carmelo Duro" showing off her Colombian roots.

This is the 33-year-old artist's first Spanish-language project and he even said that he thinks he likes "these songs better in Spanish." The R&B artist took to his Instagram account to his express his excitement on Te Lo Dije, as well as give props to people who helped him through the process.

"FIRST RELEASE OF THE YEAR," he wrote. "TE LO DIJE (a selection of songs off of W&L en español)."

 

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FIRST RELEASE OF THE YEAR ! TE LO DIJE (a selection of songs off of W&L en español) I want to thank my cousin @yeyasmiles and @flordetoloache, @kaliuchis and @c.tangana and everyone that helped me translate these songs 🙏🏾. I think you might like these better in Spanish. Enjoy . Love you

A post shared by Miguel TV 📺 (@miguel) on Apr 5, 2019 at 9:22am PDT

Make sure to listen to Te Lo Dije here.

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