Those who have entered Cuba through Jose Marti International Airport in Havana will know that upon arrival, they are greeted by beautiful video images of Old Havana on TV screens and the sultry voice of Xiomara Laugart singing “Hoy mi Habana”. And it is no coincidence because Xiomara Laugart is “The Voice of Cuba”. She has been representing her country and her people, performing at venues around the globe for over 30 years and with the greatest of international talents. She is a living legend in her native Cuba where she has recorded more than 17 albums.
Xiomara has a peculiar mastery to reveal, not only her vocal virtues, and flexibility, but a special sound, fluently “liquid” and garrulous. Her range is such that the jazz influences seem to be a natural extension of her repertoire. She takes on each style of music and embraces it with her own stamp and authentic flare. For many years, Xiomara Laugart “La Negra” as she is popularly known, was Muse to the Nueva Trova artists and recorded and shared stages with the likes of Omara Portuondo Pablo Milanes, Silvio Rodriguez, and Raul Torres.
Upon arriving in New York, Xiomara was immediately invited as a featured guest vocalist on two jazz albums, “Deep Rumba” by Kip Hanrahan and “Latin Lullaby” by Ellipsis Art, and on Jacky Terrason’s album “What it is” [Blue Note Records]. She also was featured in the first single worldwide single by The Fun Loving Criminals released in 2001. Xiomara was leading vocalist and founding member in Yerba Buena, a New York collective with a brilliant mix of rhythms. Their first album, “President Alien” (2003) was nominated for a Grammy. In 2005, Yerba Buena celebrated the release of their second album “Island Life,” to which Xiomara adds her African and Caribbean legacy.
Xiomara is both the essence of the old Cuba, with its rhythmic folk songs, fused with a blend of today’s directness and clarity of voice, which is eventually matched with her deep laugh. It is that distinctive laugh that captivates audiences from all walks of life with her swing style in all of her Cuban splendor.