La Dame Blanche

With her explosive mix of hip hop, cumbia, dancehall and reggae, the Cuban singer, flautist and percussionist Yaite Ramos Rodriguez, aka La Dame Blanche delivers a powerful and compelling sound which summons the spirits.

Before unfurling her costume Yaite has travelled a long and sometimes hard road. Everything starts in Cuba where she was born, in the heart of an awe inspiring musical cauldron on which reigns the figure of her father, Jesus “Aguaje” Ramos, an exceptional trombonist who is also the artistic director of the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club. Family parties are gatherings of extraordinary musicians, the cream of Cuban music, to the sounds of thousands of songs and drums. Those celebrations feed the soul of the little girl but often leave her on the sidelines, intimidated and shy. She says: “My beautiful female cousins would divinely sing latin jazz and boleros. I was not as naturally talented as they were! I had to accomplish myself in a different way…” Yaite therefore other paths, learns how to play the classical flute at the conservatoire, and dreams of herself standing in front of a black pulpit wearing a demure dress. Later on she takes her first steps in the cabarets of Cuba.

Finding her own language

Then love strikes and takes her to Paris, the city of lights, the city of every sound. She says: “In my country, popular music was focused primarily on tradition: the sound, la rumba, the batá drums, etc. In Paris, all borders being open, there was a melting-pot of rhythms and melodies!” There Yaite sings in the all-girl salsa band Rumbana, joins the Grand Orchestre du Splendid, becomes back-up singer with Sergent Garcia and live singer for El Hijo de la Cumbia… Those experiences added to her emancipation from the family heritage to develop her own language, that of La Dame Blanche. She says, smiling: “It is the result of my frustrations, of my unfulfilled adventures.” Out of her hip hop flow, the basis of her language, spring rage, energy, the taste of revenge, the cry of emergency. That root of her signature style, played out while remaining feminine and from the tips of claws, gets entangled with merry and wild offshoots of reggae, dancehall, cumbia, moombathon etc. Finally, on that sonic jungle organised in her image land the agile, celestial and anchored threnodies of her flute, with classical accents and sometimes Indian colours. Since his first “tinkerings”, Marc “Babylotion” Damblé, the project’s producer declares himself in love. Others prick up their ears. La Dame Blanche hits home, releases “Piratas” her first LP in 2014 and performs in prestigious venues such as the “Suds” festival in Arles.

San Francisco-based acoustic ensemble performs a repertoire of original compositions with an emotionally charged sound that is difficult to classify yet instantly recognizable. The group’s international roots shine brightly in their music with members from Spain, Quebec, France, Brazil and California and deeply influenced by a range of musical

Barrio Manouche has been recognized for its surprise concerts, innovative style, complex technique, and their passion for their musical improvisations. With latest collaborations including French Flamenco dancer Fanny Ara, African sacred dance by Brazilian dancer Emaye Ama Mizani, as well as Colombian singer Iván Rondón, Barrio Manouche plays what is perhaps the truest definition of World Music.
Barrio Manouche is taking their audience on a magical journey, with a unique fusion of cultures and musical backgrounds, an auditory and visual feast like no others.

“Barrio Manouche makes magical acoustic music mashed together from all corners of the globe — a new form of Americana, if you will, where flamenco guitar drifts above
Brazilian beats, clashing with Gypsy-jazz melodies. It could very well qualify as Americana in another decade or two. Or maybe its rich, gorgeous blend of acoustic Latin-French jazz will always remain distinctly Barrio Manouche.”
— Aaron Carnes

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