Cuci Amador is the effervescent frontwoman of Afrobeta, a Miami favorite that's currently finishing a new studio album. New Times caught up with her to ask about her musical background, new projects, and hidden talents.
New Times: Let's get some things out of the way first. Where do you come from, what is your name, and more important, if you had to choose between rescuing an Atari 2600 or Taylor Dayne from a burning building, which one would it be?
Cuci Amador: My family hails from Cuba. My nickname is Cuci Amador. Cuci is pronounced coo-SEE and comes from cosita, which means "little thing." Amador is my grandmother's maiden name, translated in English as "lover." I guess Cuci Amador means "little lover." I think if I had to save an Atari 2600 or Taylor Dayne from a burning building, I would save Taylor Dayne. ColecoVision was a superior system.
OK, you've established a pretty solid pedigree locally and a fan base through your work in Afrobeta and with José El Rey and the Miami Bass Warriors. What can you tell us about those projects?
Afrobeta is developing nicely. It started as a beta project, and we are happy to be working on our debut album. We've teamed up with a local indie label started by two of the Ultra Music Festival cofounders, Russell and Charlie Faibisch. You can look forward to a release party announcement soon!
How did you hook up with Calle 13, and what in Sam Hill is "alt-reggaeton" exactly?
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Calle 13 had a beat ready for their new album that was kinda a freestyle throwback. A mutual friend showed Residente, of Calle 13, the video for "Nighttime." He liked it and thought I would be a good fit for the beat. That became the song "Electro Movimiento."
I guess "alt-reggaeton" would mean reaching outside of the traditional derivative of Jamaican dancehall. I know that Visitante, the musical mind of Calle 13, is a big fan of folkloric music.
You're an accomplished concert violinist and martial artist. Do you have any other hidden talents? Clearly, you have a great vocal range; are there any other styles of music that interest you? Any people you'd like to work with?
Thanks for asking! I trained for many years for my Olympic figure skating aspirations. I made it to the 2002 semifinals at the Scott Rakow skating rink with my solo routine to "Conga" by Miami Sound Machine. Now I coach the Little Havana girls' hockey team. It's a far cry from my Olympic dream, but it keeps me on the ice! I'd like to work with Björk on a concept album. It is comprised of songs written for animals in frequencies only they can hear. PETA has expressed interest in funding it.