Guild Hall will be filled with the sounds of Cuba on Sunday, July 14, at 8 PM. Maria Bacardi — East Hampton resident, Cuban songstress, and artistic soul — will perform a benefit concert to raise funds for Project MOST, an inclusive afterschool and summer learning program for children in East Hampton.
Bacardi is the lead singer of the Cuban “Bolero Feelin” revival. Collaborating artists, both well-seasoned and up-and-coming Cuban artists, include Grammy Award-winning guitarist David Oquendo; leader of the new generation of Cuban producers, Edgar Gonzalez; virtuoso pianist Ahmed Alom; bassist Jorgito Bringas; brass arranger Kali Rodriquez; drummer Amaury Acosts; percussionist Tony De Vivo; and vocalist Gina Soto. Together, they sing songs from Bacardi’s latest album “Duele,” meaning “It Hurts.” Its sound is a mix of classic and contemporary, with both mellow and upbeat tunes.
“Life hurts. Being Cuban also hurts because of having to have left so early in my life,” Bacardi said of her departure from Cuba at only three years old, born there in 1957. Her music pays homage to the music Bacardi’s mother would sing as a political exile in Spain. In a group, she and other exiles would play guitar, sing melodies, and oftentimes cry all night, reminiscent of a land they could no longer call home.
“I had to start at a place that I knew with my music,” said Bacardi. “The first album was very traditional, and this one I wanted to bring something new and innovative that has never been done before, which is to contemporize these songs.”
Prior to singing, Bacardi founded the Oddfellows Playhouse, a non-profit theater company producing original plays at local Hamptons venues including the Watermill Center, LongHouse Reserve, Arlene Bujese Gallery, and more.
She also creates mixed-media art pieces — from her past to the present, everything Bacardi does is art. “I couldn’t live in the harsh reality we have. If I didn’t have the voice, I’d create something from a stick and mud,” she said.
There will be different styles of Cuban music presented at the Guild Hall event. “I think that the audience will get a little bit of an idea of what the poets were writing when they wrote, which were mostly composers and lyrics as one in producing poetry,” she said.
Her upcoming project will be exploring music with lyrics in French, keeping a broader “emotional vocabulary.”