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Varadero Gourmet

Brenda Navarrete: Cuban and World Music

Talent, Cubanness and the keenness to work defines this young woman that imbues authenticity to each rhythm coming from her batá drum and from her creative ingenuity, about which TTC echoes in this interview.

Brenda was a bit over six years old when she began approaching the world of music, first through a community project and later thanks to her sister Melvis Santa, another notable figure of contemporary Cuban music.

Since then she knew that was the path, and even with a promising career as a swimmer, she decided for music, “my passion”, she affirms, and she began her first challenge: to be a percussionist, an art that she has kept united to singing, dancing and composition.

The Manuel Saumell Elementary Music Conservatory and the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory intermediate level school were her first contacts with the academia. During that time as a student, faithful to her interest in percussion she discovered the magic of the batá drums, which until now have marked her career.

The passage through local musical groups of diverse tendencies, teaching, dance and collaboration with famous artists allowed her to “absorb knowledge and draw from experiences to be able to make arrangements, compose and interpret Cuban music based on a more alternative and a more symphonic manner.”

The Interactivo project, the Obbiní Batá Group, working with Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa, Elain Morales, Alain Pérez, the Rumba Team Cuba and others “have contributed their bit to the Brenda I am today,” she confesses.

Then the time came to have her personal project, an objective that materialized in 2014 with the emergence of Brenda Navarrete and HabanAché.

When asked about the genres that define that band she affirms: “world music, because since I have the experience of several cultures I insert jazz, soul, reggae, Brazilian rhythms and above all 100% Cuban music.”

But the rhythms of her land are the first: “I’m a fan of traditional music and in my repertoire I always include boleros, guarachas, changüí, sones, which I mix with contemporary genres. I defend a great deal my culture and my compositions have to do with it and on any stage in the world I have to represent what I am and our music.”

In that sense, she considers that the autochthonous rhythms of each country have their number one in the international ranking, “because each culture has its magic and all are intertwined.”

Havana is her ideal stage, and there are many spaces that Brenda Navarrete and HabanAché have made theirs: the Artex Café Miramar Cultural Center, the Meliá Habana Hotel; El Azúcar in the Plaza Vieja of the Historic Center, in which they offer incomparable nights.

I have to see the public dancing and singing, which is why my show always proposes interaction, I invite persons to dance and I bring them up on stage, it’s like the total satisfaction of my performance.”