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Flying to Cuba on music of Desandann
So, the Toronto-based jazz musician and her husband, Larry Cramer, created Embracing Voices and headed out on tour with the 10-voice Cuban choir, along with Elizabeth Shepherd and Telmary.

Desandann performs frequently in a capella, drawing on generations of Haitian roots that were firmly planted in the Cuban culture, creating a musical genre that includes the popular, a traditional and sacred of their homeland.

The tour arrives in Kamloops on April 7 for a 7:30 p.m. performance at Calvary Community Church, 1205 Rogers Way.

Most of the members of Desandann are second- and third-generation descendants of the Haitians who fled their country to Cuba from 1795 to 1805, from 1920 to 1940 and later in the 1980s.

They are all trained musicians, most of whom also play percussion during their performances — and they’ve been touring since the mid-1990s to massive critical acclaim.

Their music has a Creole flavour in their repertoire of songs about their homeland, its people, its beauty, its joy and its perseverance.

Bunnett is a world-recognized jazz musician whose debut album in 1988 garnered a Juno nomination.

She said she fell in love with Cuba and its people during a trip to the island in the mid-1980s and has spent years exploring its many styles of music and the people who make it.

From this voyage of musical discovery came Spirits of Havana, a record that has won a Juno and been named one of the top 300 jazz recordings of all times.

After that came Rendezvous Brazil-Cuba, Chamalongo, Rito + Soul — all music melding of African, Cuban and jazz.

Last year, Bunnett created Embracing Voices, which features songs in English, Spanish and Creole.

And, recently, she was nominated as instrumentalist of the year and Latin jazz artist of the year in the National Jazz Awards, which will be presented in May.

The Kamloops performance is part of a five-month tour of Canada and the U.S. and is one of only three shows planned for B.C.

In addition to Bunnett and Desandann, the show will include Elizabeth Shepherd, who is nominated this year for a Juno for vocal jazz album of the year, and Telmary, one of Cuba’s most prominent jazz performer.


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