Laure Donnat Surprises Havana Audience

By Irina Echarry, photos: Caridad

Laure Donnat singing at the Hubert De Blanck Theater in Havana
Laure Donnat singing at the Hubert De Blanck Theater in Havana

HAVANA TIMES, March 23 – It was already past 9:00 p.m., though the concert had been announced for 8:00. The people waiting were restless, as we saw the guest Cuban musicians wondering about the theater. Only a few people had even heard of the singer who was being featured. We even asked ourselves who was this person that dared share the stage with Bobby Carcassés?

The entrance was free, perhaps compensation for the wait. The playbill of the intimate Hubert De Blanck Theater (on Calzada between A and B streets in the Vedado neighborhood), was ceding space on March 19th to the voice of Laure Donnat, a French jazz singer visiting Cuba for the first time.

Her warm and, at the same time, deep voice-capable of hitting all the registers- effortlessly shifted from tenderness to rage. She made it navigate through the loving sighs of such pieces such as Ne me quitte pas and Piensa en mí, while her voice later exuded energy in a version of Bésame Mucho. Laure sang in English, Spanish and French, as she demonstrated her great talent for improvisation, which stirred the applauding public’s passion.

In addition to maestro Bobby Carcassés, who accompanied her on the trumpet and also sang, she was backed by Emilio Morales (piano), Chino Verdecia (guitar), Frank Rubio (bass) and Ruy Lopez-Nussa (drums). A cast of stars.

Laure Donnat in Havana with Bobby Carcasses (trumpet), Emilio Morales (piano), Chino Verdecia (guitar), Frank Rubio (bass) and Ruy Lopez-Nussa (drums).
Laure Donnat in Havana with Bobby Carcasses (trumpet), Emilio Morales (piano), Chino Verdecia (guitar), Frank Rubio (bass) and Ruy Lopez-Nussa (drums).

It was a shame that public was so sparse; most were French guests. This wonderful concert was hardly advertised, though Cuban jazz lovers would have enjoyed it greatly. Visits by foreign artists to our island are always welcome. We -like Laure Donnat- know that music is much better than lackluster speeches.

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