Home Archive Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture presents Legendary Voices

Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture presents Legendary Voices


Lena Burke & Xiomara Laugart in a Double Bill
Special Guest: Malena Burke

Friday, March 23, 2018, 7:30 PM

(Bronx, NY) – Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture presents “Legendary Cuban Voices” – Cuban-born singers Lena Burke and Xiomara Laugart in a double bill, with special guest artist, singer Malena Burke, Friday, March 23, 7:30 PM in the Repertory Theater at Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse (at 149th Street) in the Bronx. Tickets are $25, with student tickets at $5, and can be purchased online at www.hostoscenter.org or by calling (718)-518-4455. The box office is open Monday to Friday, 1 PM to 4 PM and will be open two hours before the performance.

Born in 1978 in Havana, Lena Burke is a pianist, singer, and songwriter and is the daughter of Malena Burke, and granddaughter of the late Elena Burke — heralded Cuban singers known for their Boleros.Burke’s first songs were written at age three, followed by guitar classes at age five by her father (Rey Nerio), and classical piano at age seven. After 12 years of studio recording, Burke became a concert pianist, winning several prizes. At this point, her voice was discovered. Burke started her musical career singing backing vocals on albums by Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, Thalía, Jaci Velasquez, Chayanne and Alejandro Sanz; The latter introduced Burke to executives at his recording label, WEA Latina, who signed her.

Her debut single, “Tu Corazón,” a duet with Sanz, received a Latin Grammy nomination for “Song of the Year.” Based now in Miami, Lena received a Latin Grammy Award in 2011 under the category — Best Pop Vocal Album Duo or Group” — for the musical production: Alex, Jorge y Lena (Alex Ubago and Jorge Villamizar). Her distinctive performance and singing style landed her the leading role in the movie La Mala, a film dedicated to the memory of the internationally renowned Cuban-born artist, La Lupe. Lena Burke received international honors for her performance, including the acclaimed award “Maltese Falcon,” the Audience Award for Best Actress at the International Film Festival of Ibiza, and “Best Female Performer Award,” at the XXIX Mostra of Valencia, Spain in 2008. She co-produced the movie soundtrack, which includes many of the songs made famous by the singer, with her father the music producer Rey Nerio. The production also includes two beautiful romantic ballads of her inspiration.

Originally from the Guantanamo province of Cuba, Xiomara Laugart (born 1960) began her career at the age of 15, performing several different expressions of traditional and contemporary Cuban music. In the 1980s, she entered the Adolfo Guzmán Contest for Cuban Music where she was granted the highest award. She went on to win other international awards at Poland’s Sopot Festival in 1985, and at Germany’s Dresden Festival in 1986. After having recorded self-titled albums in Cuba, she moved to Rome and later to New York. Soon after, Laugart was invited to be the guest singer on Deep Rumba by Kip Hanrahan, Latin Lullaby by Ellipsis Art, and on Jacky Terrason’s album What It Is.

Laugart is known for her work with the group Yerba Buena, whose first album President Alien was nominated for a Grammy Award. Yerba Buena’s second album Island Life, a brilliant mix of rhythms to which Laugart adds her African and Caribbean legacy, was released in 2005. Laugart was cast in 2007 as Celia Cruz in the Off-Broadway musical, Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz, a tribute to the life of the late Cuban-American singer, which ran at New World Stages until May 2008. On Tears and Rumba, her third most recent album on Chesky Records, Xiomara Laugart steps up to the plate with her distinctive style to interpret some Cuban classics from the golden era of the 1920s. Tears and Rumba is an introduction to the singer-songwriter’s driven trova style from the city of Santiago and features works by two extremely influential composers of that era, María Teresa Vera, and Miguel Matamoros. Axel Tosca Laugart, the singer’s son, was responsible for the new arrangements.

Malena Burke (born September 15, 1958, in Havana, Cuba) began her musical studies at various art schools when she was only eight years old and graduated from the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory with diplomas in violin, guitar, and musical writing. Malena Burke received her initial proposal to perform at the anniversary of the Casino Parisien, at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana’s most distinguished hotel. She accepted and performed for the first time together with her mother, the legendary singer Elena Burke. The following year, she was selected to perform as a headliner at the Tropicana Club, where she continued as a principal performer for five years. Burke proceeded to perform at the most acclaimed nightclubs in Havana, including the Hotel Habana Riviera, Havana Hilton, and Capri showrooms. With her success also came demands for tours including Perú, Panama, Germany, Austria, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, and Venezuela. In 1995, Malena Burke settled in the United States. Among her many recordings include Salseando, Cuba on Fire, Malena Burke, Super Cuban All Stars, Bolero Jazz: Misty, A Solas Contigo, Contigo en la Distancia, and Malena Total.

About the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture

Founded in 1982, The Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture, based at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, serves the cultural needs of residents of the South Bronx and similar inner-city communities who do not have the means or inclination to attend arts events in mid-town Manhattan. The Center, which includes a 900-seat theater, a 367-seat theater, and museum-grade art gallery, create forums in which the cultural heritage of its audiences are affirmed and nurtured. The Center’s programming consists of performing arts presenting series; visual art exhibiting series; periodic festivals promoting cultural traditions, especially Afro-Caribbean; The Hostos Repertory Company; and an individual artists’ program with commissions and residencies. Nearly 60,000 partake in the Center’s programs each year.


A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject.


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