Origins Jazz Series is excited to partner with the Green Room Exchange to present Axel and Xiomara Laugart.
Two Seatings - 7pm & 9:15pm
Cuban born Axel Tosca Laugart is one of the most dynamic young pianists on the scene.
Laugart's family influenced his musical interests at an early age. Both his father and stepfather were musicians and his father's guitar playing sparked an early interest in the instrument. He began playing guitar around the age of four and piano at the age of seven, accompanying his parents. Laugart's mother, Xiomara Laugart, is a world-famous singer, whom he still performs with today.
Laugart benefitted from a wide range of musical experiences growing up in Cuba. Dennis & Swing was a group that Laugart credits for "giving me the real timba groove." Laugart also played with the Afro Cuban All Stars, Teresa Garcia Caturla, Sexteto Sendito, Jose Miguel Crego (known as “El Greco”), and a Latin Jazz group called the Bobby Carcases Group, where Laugart says "I learned a lot about the language of music."
Laugart was also part of the Hip-Hop scene in Cuba and had the opportunity to play with The Roots while they were in Cuba. He has also worked in the studio with Cuban conductor Miguel Ceruto.
Amadito Valdez, the great timbalero with the Buena Vista Social Club, was a musical mentor and an important part of Laugart's decision to come to the United States in July of 2005. His arrival came with the opportunity to perform with “Havana Night” in Las Vegas for two years.
Now based in New York, Laugart continues to grow musically. Of his future, he says "my goal is to just keep upgrading my talent and my soul. I love the world."
Those who have entered Cuba through Jose Marti International Airport in Havana will know that upon arrival, they are greeted by beautiful video images of Old Havana on TV screens and the sultry voice of Xiomara Laugart singing “Hoy mi Habana”. And it is no coincidence because Xiomara Laugart is “The Voice of Cuba”. She has been representing her country and her people, performing at venues around the globe for over 30 years and with the greatest of international talents. She is a living legend in her native Cuba where she has recorded more than 15 albums.
For many years, Xiomara Laugart “La Negra” as she is popularly known, was Muse to the Nueva Trova artists and recorded and shared stages with the likes of Omara Portuondo Pablo Milanes, Silvio Rodriguez, and Raul Torres. However, though Xiomara had been performing in the largest of venues in Cuba for years, she longed for a deeper sense of artistic expression, which she found difficult to develop in the oppressive political climate of Cuba. Her dream was to live in the United States and fill the creative void in her soul with her music.
Upon arriving in New York, Xiomara was invited as a featured guest vocalist on two jazz albums, “Deep Rumba” by Kip Hanrahan and “Latin Lullaby” by Ellipsis Art, and on Jacky Terrason’s album “What it is” [Blue Note Records]. By 2002, Laugart's monthly showcases at New York City's famed underground Zinc Bar were being widely acclaimed as “legendary”.
In 2007, Xiomara embarked on an adventure that held the enormous responsibility of representing one of the most important figures in Latin culture, Celia Cruz, the Queen of Latin Music, in the first ever theatre production based on the legendary late Cuban artist. CELIA: The Life & Music of Celia Cruz, raised its curtain on September 26, 2007 at New World Stages on Broadway, with a massive critical acclaim, highlighting the amazing portrayal and incomparable voice of Xiomara Laugart.
Xiomara is both the essence of the old Cuba, with its rhythmic folk songs, fused with a blend of today’s directness and clarity of voice, which is eventually matched with her deep laugh. It is that distinctive laugh that captivates audiences from all walks of life with her swing style in all of her Cuban splendor.