This woman comes strong. With the legacy of ancestors and all the influence of present times, she makes a type of music that leaves no room for doubts. It is unique and hers. But it is made up of everything and tries to please everyone’s taste.
On her most recent album, Maradentro (Colibrí Record Label), we talked to Telmary Díaz.
The previous CD, Fuerza Arará, set the bar high. You won the Cubadisco award and got several nominations to the Latin Grammy. Is there any surprise in this new album?
“Fuerza Arará was an album in which I tried Afro-Cuban rhythms a lot; for instance, the afrobeat. It is an electronic-acoustic album. Maradentro somehow follows the same path. However, I do fusion here with new musical genres such as the Brazilian music, which is executed by Munir Hossn and Alan Sousa, who play with me this time. The album is also influenced by soca and of course, timba. That is to say, Cuban and foreign rhythms like pop as in the case of Enamora’o, or the bolero Puras palabras; Quién te mandó and Equivocao, which are timba-like tracks. Quién te mandó showcases a strong use of beats to provide it with an urban-like sonority; in the case of rumba, Fuerza Arará has a lot of folklore, but it has no rumba track in it. Now, I play along Osain del Monte a rumba. And well, there is a strong hallmark of Afro-Cuban moyugba as a way to improvise.”
That diversity you are referring to comes mainly from my guest musicians. This is like a trip. It is fest. I am celebrating with this album that I have been doing music for twenty years. That is why I did a very careful selection of guests. Much of them were personal debts I had and I have been longing to do music with them for a while. I can do it now.”
And regarding its subject, what is Maradentro’s proposal?
“This album speaks of nature and its resilience. It is a CD devoted to Yemaya, the sea, to these challenging times of spiritual quest, of personal strength, always linked to our traditions, our roots, defending our musical heritage, but also showcasing Cuba to the world. I do a featuring with Wesli, a Haitian-born artist living now in Canada. I do a musical collaboration with Omi, a Cuban-born artist living abroad who treasures sonorities everywhere and that is what you can listen to in the song Calienta el bombo. It starts with a song related to the sea: Maradentro, and ends the same way with the song Háblate. It is devoted to the sea, to the female deity and women empowerment.
I must say I collaborate with three women I love so much…I sing together with Omara, a brief featuring with Yusa, which was a dream come true, and the other is a song with Ana Torroja, former singer of Mecano who I have listened to since I was a child and I admire and respect her so much. We sing together in Enamorao, a song made remotely, which portrays how both of us flow and connect despite not being together at a recording studio. Besides, it is a song dedicated to the love of my life.”
Are you involved in any other project these days?
Well, I had the idea —in this time of pandemic— to become an entrepreneur with Tumbao de Telma, which is my personal and commercial brand. This is devoted to the African heritage, my personal style, but also dedicated to cancer patients. The idea is to standardize the turban as an item of clothing these patients wear during the process of chemotherapy and they may feel they are fashionable. I am fully committed to it, Tumbao de Telma, and of course, my family and my family’s achievements, the future, my daughter who has just started in the school of music and yes, it is quite complicated she can develop her musical instrument these days…Besides, I am also working in my next musical collaborations, my next album. I do not stop. I am dreaming of doing more television, theater, movies, and I am even planning to do some hip-hopera. These are my most immediate dreams.”
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff