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Sonia Santana

Sonia Santana

One has to wonder how many musicians and critics listening to Sonia Santana in a Before and After session in this magazine would guess that a non-Cuban is fronting such a tight, classic Cuban big-band sound on Havana Dreams (Odyssey). One also has to wonder what their reaction would be once informed of her previous professional life.

The lithe, petite and pretty Canary Islands native had a bout with fame in Spain in the early ’90s with the pop group Ole Ole. Since there’s an element among the musical intelligentsia-blessedly ignored by most audiences-who would question the singer’s validity and right to interpret hallowed repertoire simply because of her exotic beauty and pop background, what would Santana say to those who perceive good looks as a threat to the music or as a facile guarantor of artistic success? “Every person with these kind of problems is welcome to come see me perform live and answer himself or herself this question, if it even arises. I will not even use Autotune,” she kids. Thus, the challenge is issued.

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