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Thursday Theater Preview: CuCu Diamantes


CuCu DiamantesYou don’t have to be crazy to enter “CuCuLand,” but the atmosphere you’ll encounter is a whirlwind of supersonic conga beats and swift allusive lyrics that’ll have your heart a-flutter and body’s movements insuppressible.

Cue in CuCu Diamantes, the leader of the aforementioned musical microcosm. Born Ilena Padron, the Cuban singer and co-founder of latin-funk band Yerba Buena (or “good herb” in English) has temporarily gone solo and is successfully attempting to build a “Cucu’s” nest of her own.  Diamantes, who is of French, Chinese, African and Spanish decent, will be the next featured artist at the Kimmel Center’s second installment of the Global Grooves World Music Dance Party series this Thursday, July 16 and will bring a flavor that’s indeed buoyant and certainly worth your while. 

Raised in Havana, Cuba, schooled in Rome and discovered in New York City, Diamantes’ onstage presence is both infectious and fused with an eclectic technique that will entrance all types of people.

“Her music and her personal background are practically the definition of what "Global Grooves" means to us here at the Kimmel Center,” says Tom Warner, VP of Programming at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.  “Absolutely infectious music that is influenced from around the world and that speaks to everyone, regardless of their origin.”   

You’ll experience at the Global Grooves dance party, which takes place every Thursday night at the Kimmel Center until August 6 (except July 23), is none like you have witnessed before at the venue.  “[You can expect] intimacy with the band whether you're sitting or dancing, a great sound system, a dance floor that is alive with a thoroughly hip and passionate crowd, a cash bar, which is the only time of the year you can actually take your drinks into the theater,  and of course, the experience of great LIVE music,” Warner reveals.

Global AudienceSince officially emerging on the scene in 2003 with Yerba Buena, the songwriter/actress has worked with the likes of Celia Cruz, Dave Matthews Band, Les Nubians and Ray Charles and Warner.  However, there’s more that Warner hopes show-goers take away from Thursday night’s performance besides witnessing a sultry Latin artist with musical clout in action: “A new-found love for her music, a new found love for dancing to live music, and perhaps an enhanced appreciation for the range of artists that are available to experience at the Kimmel Center year round.” 

Diamantes’ debut album “CuCuLand” was recently released on iTunes March 17 and its acclaim continues to spiral upwards.  The 10-track LP infused with Spanglish-bearing songs and a mesmerizing style comparable to rap, recently took the number one spot on the iTunes Latino Top Albums list and featured on NPR’s “New Latin Music: Three Albums Not To Miss” roundup.

“There's nothing better than live performance - and what better way to enjoy it than with someone as smart, sexy and fierce as CuCu,” Warner admits.

So for all of you CuCuLanders out there, or for the music enthusiast who is unfamiliar and utterly curious, take a chance on enjoyable music and cross the threshold into Cucu’s universe.


What you need to know:

Global Grooves World Music Dance Party: CuCu Diamantes

Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center

Thursday, July 16