“I’m not just a rapper. I am a communicator, a jazz poet, a sorceress of the word.”
Havana-based “street poet” and rapper Telmary uses her distinctive voice to proclaim positive, empowering messages to contrast the genre’s commercial norm. Harnessing a love for poetry with a background in theater and journalism, she writes lyrics ranging from the feminist to the spiritual and everything in between. All of this is set against sinuous son and rumba rhythms expertly served up by her bandmates Habana Sana.
Though not well traveled in the United States, Telmary has performed throughout Europe, South America, and Japan in some of the world’s most recognized music festivals. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is proud to launch its new “off-the-Mall” series Cuban Voices|Voces Cubanas with the D.C. debut of an artist NPR calls “one of the leaders of the hip-hop revolution in Cuban popular music.”
Produced by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Cuban Voices|Voces Cubanas takes as its themes continuity and adaptation, resilience and agency. From conversations and film screenings to performances and workshops, the series offers a compelling platform from which Cubans can share their distinct, varied, and—above all—creative voices.