While a trip to La Habana might be out of range for most Northwest music lovers, singer Jessie Marquez can get you there fast and without the red tape.
Marquez has sung in clubs, cabarets, theaters, street parties, and on television and radio throughout Cuba. Her soothing vocals are a mix of North American harmony and Latin emotion that embody the Cuban genre called filin (a play on the word "feeling").
Jessie Marquez at Milagro Theater from Jessie Marquez on Vimeo.
An offshoot of the romantic bolero, filin draws from North American jazz, Brazilian bossa nova, and the Cuban familiarity with the many shades of love and longing.
Marquez, whose father was raised in Havana, grew up eating her grandmother's Cuban cooking and hearing stories about the family's days on the island. She first visited her father's childhood home in 1996. Right away, she says, "there was something very familiar about it --the way people spoke, their gestures, their attitudes. I felt at home."
In 2003, members of the Afro-Cuban Allstars, heard her sing in Havana and offered to arrange and record her first CD. In a home studio, between power outages, they recorded "Sana Locura," which reached the top of salsa and Latin jazz charts in Europe and the United States. Marquez appeared on Cuban television and radio and was invited by the Cuban culture department, UNEAC, to perform in the country's annual bolero festival (2005 and 2006). She subsequently spent 8 months in Cuba, performing with some of the country's most respected artists.
"Jessie Marquez has become la reina of salsa and Cuban music in the Pacific Northwest and has helped turn her hometown of Eugene, Ore., into a tropical music oasis in the western United States. Her new, self-produced album, Sana Locura, is a classy, heartfelt affair, recorded in Havana, Cuba with some of that country's foremost musicians.Latina Style, National Magazine for the Contemporary Hispanic Woman
"[This] American diva with Cuban roots went to Havana and won over some of Cuba's most prominent musicians with her singing and her interpretations of Cuban classics. The resulting collaboration is a musical gem- nostalgic and fresh." -- Latin Beat Magazine
George Mitchell: "Tall and lean, Mitchell exudes a relaxed, quiet competence that makes you understand why singers from jazz star Nancy King to pop diva Diana Ross, with whom he's toured since 1980, have such confidence in him. He's accompanied legendary tenors Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo in Japan and in New York's Central Park, done Letterman, Oprah and "The Tonight Show," and he's played with Sonny Stitt, Eddie Harris, Jon Hendricks and Sheila E."
Official Website: http://www.vinideusbistro.com
Added by freedomwine on December 22, 2009