Few can surpass the majesty and grandeur that is Celia Cruz, but international sensation Lucrecia comes quite close. The Cuban born salsa singer, backed by a classic Cuban-style big band, gives passionate, high energy performances of traditional Latin melodies, and interprets boleros and jazz standards, to boot. She's collaborated with hit makers like Paquito D'Rivera, Chavela Vargas, Arturo Sandoval and with Celia Cruz herself. She speaks to New Times and waxes poetic on what life was like in Cuba, recording with actor Andy Garcia, and her upcoming performance on Saturday at the Arsht Center.
Lucrecia, Saturday, May 15, 8 p.m. At the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets cost $45-$85. 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org
New Times: What inspires you to turn to Cuban music of yesteryear and going with a classic Cuban big band?
Lucrecia: This album reflects a timeless era and the hidden glamour of my homeland. It was inspired by the nostalgia that always finds its way into my soul and recreates vivid pictures of the Cuba I remember. I feel this style of music should be honored and passed down to the future generation so they may never forget where our families came from and where we call home.
What was the inspiration behind Album de Cuba?
This album was very personal to me. My parents raised me in a musical environment and I learned to appreciate this style because they made sure to keep it alive on a daily basis. The music on this album moved me throughout many periods of my life and continues to do so to this day; it is this music that defines moments in my life.
How did Andy Garcia end up singing in your new album? Any other familiar faces on the Album de Cuba?
We originally approached Andy to recite the verses of Jose Marti's Cultivo Una Rosa Blanca. Once he was introduced to the concept of the album he was inspired to work with us on other songs; he played bongos and sings in "Guantanamera," "La Cuba Mia," and "Siboney." Knowing the passion he shares for music and our homeland, I was honored to work with him on this very important collection of music.
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On this album I was also able to incorporate the voice of the late great queen Celia Cruz. A dear friend and an international legend who singlehandedly changed the face of women in the world of Latin music and made a permanent mark in history with her music.
Why have you chosen Spain as your current hometown, as opposed to Miami, which is more Cuban-centric?
I left Cuba to Spain many years ago and I made Barcelona my home. It is where my son was born and my entire family settled. I love Miami for the wide variety of cultures, languages, and cuisines, and I am very fortunate to be able to come to visit often with my friends and share in its richness and beauty.
Anything new and exciting planned for your concert at the Arsht Center? Any surprises?
I am looking forward to presenting Album de Cuba at Arsht Center with the hope Miami will embrace the essence of the album. I hope that those who attend will feel the passion and love I feel for this music, and will go home with the music in their heart.
What else do you have in store for your music in the future?
I am in the midst of planning two more albums focused on same style as Album de Cuba. I am looking forward to collaborating with a variety of artists that I admire and respect.