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Jazz and rock: Cuban singer Daymé; Arocena, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper on tap

Daymé Arocena got an early start in music.

Growing up in Havana, the singer got hooked on music, thanks to her uncle.

“My uncle used to work in a hotel,” she says. “They made a singing competition for the kids of the employees there. And the winner was going to get a toy. My mom entered me. I sang a song of Selena. I was singing so passionately, and I was only 5 years old. It was at that moment my parents realized I was going to be a performer.”

Now the Afro-Cuban jazz singer is one of the brightest stars in Cuba.

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Often drawing comparisons to Aretha Franklin and Celia Cruz, Arocena stays in her own lane when it comes to music.

She is inspired by her native Cuba and writes about life there. Her latest album is “Cubafonía.”

After years of performing, Arocena is still as passionate as when she sang as a 5-year-old.

“I’m a crazy lover,” she says. “I open my heart really quickly. I take good and bad experiences and learn from them. I put my heart deeply into everything in my life. When my heart is happy or gets hurt, there comes a new song.”

Arocena will make her Albuquerque debut tonight at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

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Summer is still going strong, and the city of Albuquerque has another family-friendly event scheduled. The Downtown Summerfest will be held on Saturday, Aug. 12, in Civic Plaza. The festival will feature Dennis DeYoung of Styx. Staff writer Rozanna M. Martinez spoke with DeYoung and has all the details on the event.

Calling rock fans: There are some amazing shows this week. Deep Purple and Alice Cooper come to the Duke City for a Wednesday, Aug. 16, show at Isleta Amphitheater. I caught up with Cooper and Steve Morse of Deep Purple.

On Thursday, Aug. 17, Young the Giant will perform at the Villa Hispana at Expo New Mexico.

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