Latin Grammy winner Aymée Nuviola talks about her new album A Journey Through Cuban Music and her love for her island.
Latin Grammy winner Aymée Nuviola is back with a heartfelt tribute to the music and culture of her island. The singer just released an album and documentary titled A Journey Through Cuban Music (Top Stop Music) and talked to CHICA about this fascinating project. “When I meet with Cuban musicians, I reconnect with my roots,” says Nuviola, who lives in Miami with her husband, and traveled to Cuba various times during the making of this production. “That’s my origin, where I went to school and became known as an artist,” she adds of her homeland.
Every time she travels to Cuba, she gets mixed feelings, she admits. “When the plane is about to land I feel: ‘Wow, this is the land I grew up in,’ but on the other hand, most of my family and friends no longer live there,” says Nuviola, whose 74-year-old dad still lives on the island. “What gives you the most nostalgia are those memories engraved in your heart of your adolescence, your childhood, your barrio, your old school.”
The album includes new versions of classic songs by legendary Cuban artists like Omara Portuondo, Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Samuel Formell from popular band Los Van Van. She also explores Cuban music genres as varied as rumba, cha cha chá, changüí and son and conga.
Nuviola notes that her record is being compared by critics to the revolutionary album and documentary Buena Vista Social Club, which reunited older Cuban musicians from the pre-revolutionary era and rescued their amazing talent from oblivion. “Cuban music was a bit dimmed and when Buena Vista was released, it created a worldwide impact,” she recognizes.
Nuviola — who played legendary queen of salsa Celia Cruz in the Telemundo series Celia— says she is also open to new roles in telenovelas or TV series. The epic role of Cruz has stayed with her and had a lasting impact on fans, she admits. “People still associate me with the character which I think it’s a beautiful thing,” she says. “Connecting with your audience is always positive and being compared to — or reminding people of — someone as great as Celia is an honor. I have worked hard to show people I have a long trajectory and that I’m an artist with my own intentions and path.”
The charismatic star will also star in an upcoming play in Miami that will celebrate the poetry and literary works of Cuban writer and patriot José Martí in a musical performance. “I’m a big fan of José Martí,” she admits.
Why are people so mesmerized by Cuban music and culture? “I think that Cuba puts people under a spell,” Nuviola says. “People visit Cuba and they fall in love with the island.”
Her new album and documentary A Journey Through Cuban Music has the same hypnotic effect!